In Illinois, Jose Mendoza, 28-years-old, was charged with felony neglect and murder in the death of Savannah Fullgraf, a 17-month-old toddler. Savannah died from injuries resulting from child abuse. Savannah was critically injured during the evening hours on Saturday, October 4, 2008. EMS reports Savannah had difficulty breathing at the scene. Allegedly, at that time, Mr. Mendoza was caring for the toddler at her home on the 1200 block of Lakeview Avenue in Hammond. Mr. Mendoza is not the father of Savannah.
Monitor caregivers around your child. Look for signs that the caregiver or parent delayed in seeking help for an injury or potential injury. Have a high-index of suspicion for an individual providing an inconsistent history about the mechanism of injury. Suspect intentional injury when the injury is inconsistent with the child’s developmental capabilities. Suspect abuse when fractures are present at varying degrees of healing stages. Look for bruises to the back of the body. Be suspicious if there are bald spots or broken hair on the scalp. Visualize the pattern of an injury to see if it resembles a belt, belt buckle, cigarette burn or scald injury from submersion in hot water. Suspect sexual abuse with trauma or infection of the perineal area.