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Published: Friday, 4/30/2010

Toledo father given 7 years for injuring tot

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

When Anabelle Dias was taken to the hospital at just 4 months old, she had 20 broken bones and severe head injuries, a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge said yesterday.

"This is one of the most horrific abuse cases I've ever seen where the victim lived," Judge Ruth Ann Franks said. "I just hope this little girl has a chance to have a life that is one day pain-free."

Judge Franks then sentenced the man convicted of causing those injuries - the baby's father - to seven years in prison. Jose Dias, 45, of 1971 Summit St. entered an Alford plea April 12 to one count each of child endangering and felonious assault.

Judge Franks sentenced him to seven years on each count. Per a negotiated plea agreement, she ordered the sentences run concurrently and dismissed a second count each of child endangering and felonious assault.

Yesterday, the judge noted the many injuries the baby girl sustained, including two skull fractures, eight broken ribs, and numerous broken bones in her legs and arms. She recounted the medical records that showed the baby's brain was so "traumatized" that it lost fluid.

The injuries, she noted, were in addition to several older breaks in various states of healing.

"This infant has been neglected beyond words," Judge Franks said. "The facts are just horrific."

Dias initially was charged with two counts each of felonious assault and child endangering because doctors determined the baby suffered not only from recent injuries, but had fractured bones that were healing.

In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains innocence or does not admit committing a crime but pleads guilty because he or she decides it's in his or her best interest. The court treats it as a guilty plea.

Yesterday, Dias said nothing before his sentencing. The child's mother made a statement about her daughter's injuries and how they almost killed the infant. She added that Anabelle is now crawling and pulling herself up.

Judge Franks noted that some of the injuries sustained by the infant were old and questioned why other members of the family didn't notice the child's multiple broken bones.

The infant remains in the custody of foster parents.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tim Braun said the plea was the result of the inability to prove who inflicted the older injuries. He said two other children in the mother's home, ages 2 and 3, showed no signs of abuse.

Attorney Pete Rost told Judge Franks regarding the older injuries found on the young child, "there were questions about other people that may be responsible for the injuries." He said he raised the issue to give the court "a clear picture of what has been going on."

Both attorneys told the judge the infant has been recovering, but it remains a "wait-and-see" situation. Mr. Braun said the injuries sustained by Anabelle were so severe, she nearly died. "These are injuries that will affect her the rest of her life," he said.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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