ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Thomas Candelaria, 23, has been charged with child abuse after medical staff found multiple injuries on his girlfriend’s young son. According to court documents, the 18-month-old had a fractured skull, as well as a broken jaw and arm. There were also signs of choking.
Those injuries are alleged to have happened while the boy was in the care of Candelaria back in November. Investigators say none of the injuries matched Candelaria’s stories that the boy ran into a fridge. Charges weren’t filed until last week.
Thursday, court prosecutors argued Candelaria should be locked up until trial. “The defendant engaged in pattern manipulation and lying in order to avoid suspicion for abuse and he came up with absurd explanations of how this child received these injuries,” said Emilie Edmonds, prosecutor.
Judge Stan Whitaker said that despite the disturbing allegations, the state did not meet its burden to prove that there are no conditions that could be set to protect the community. Instead, Judge Whitaker released Candelaria on strict conditions that include having no contact with the boy.