Fabian Silva was just four years-old when he died on January 27, 2008. He had been the victim of child abuse prior to this last violent episode that took his life. Fabian’s mother, Marina Baker, is also being charged with two counts of child abuse.
Marina Baker and Alejandro Miguel Romero will be arraigned in Pima County Superior Court on August 28, 2008. The new indictment against Mr. Romero includes seven counts, involving murder, child abuse, aggravated assault against a minor and possession of marijuana.
Family members had complained to Child Protective Services in the past out of concern for Fabian’s well-being. In October of 2007, Fabian was taken to a local hospital and treated for contusions and a brain hemorrhage. Providers suspected abuse at that time. Ms. Baker told CPS workers that Fabian sustained the injuries from rough play with his older brother and from falling down the stairs.
The final violent event that lead to Fabian’s death resulted from an injury that rendered Fabian unconscious in the presence of Mr. Romero. Allegedly, Mr. Romero did not call 911 or seek medical attention for the boy in an immediate fashion. News reports say he drove with Fabian, who was mortally injured, in his car to pick up his older brother from church and then decided to take Fabian to the hospital. A physician told investigators that Fabian’s life likely could have been saved had he received timely medical intervention. The Tucson Police Department and Deputy Pima County Attorney’s office are conducting the investigation into this matter.
Abusive parents or caregivers have risk factors such as substance abuse, low self-esteem, mental or physical disability, depression, history of abuse as a child, poor coping skills, poor impulse control, history of violent behavior or history of being raised in a group setting with no positive parental role. All children are potential victims of child abuse, but some factors increase the risk for a child to be abused.
A person that identifies injuries on a child, does not have to suspect child abuse, but rather see injuries known to be associated with child abuse and report it to Child Protection agencies in the county that the injured child resides. This approach of reporting suspected child abuse is very beneficial for the potential victim because it allows for trained professionals to evaluate a child and conduct a professional investigation in a timely manner. Private citizens should report their observations immediately to child protection specialists rather than delay reporting to conduct their own inquiry. The life of the child may be in jeopardy. The potential victim of child abuse deserves a thorough and prompt investigation by educated and trained professionals.