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Charges filed in scalded baby case

By Staff | Jun 28, 2008

Del Angel

A 17-year-old male will be tried as an adult on felony charges stemming from an incident that left a child seriously burned.

Selerino Del Angel appeared in Faribault County District Court on Monday for a contested omnibus hearing.

The Kiester teenager is currently being held in Faribault County Jail for first-degree assault, malicious punishment of a child and neglect or endangerment of a child.

Public defender Troy Timmerman asked Judge Douglas Richards to rule whether a statement made by his client on Nov. 8 at Freeborn County Jail can be used against him.

“He was let go after being interviewed. There is question if he was actually detained. I want the court to determine that,” says Timmerman.

Since the beginning of the case, Faribault County Attorney Brian Roverud has sought to have Del Angel certified as an adult.

Until Monday, juvenile hearings have been conducted in the case.

However, Richards signed an order on June 12 allowing Del Angel to be tried as an adult.

Timmerman asked Richards to reduce his client’s bail from $50,000 ($10,000 in cash) to $3,500, because “his family can afford that.” His request was denied.

The public defender entered a plea of not guilty and also requested a three-day jury trial.

Roverud says he is waiting for additional information regarding the case and it could take up to 30 days. Richards agreed to set a trial date at that time.

According to a court complaint, Faribault County investigator Todd Duit was notified on Nov. 7 that a woman brought her 2-year-old daughter to the Naeve Hospital emergency room in Albert Lea.

The child was suffering from second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of her body, the complaint states. She was later transferred to the burn unit at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

When questioned by Duit and child protection worker Marsha Berkness, the mother told them her daughter received the burns while bathing. She says the child turned off the cold water when she turned away.

Hospital staff and a resident physician told authorities the scald burns were not consistent with the mother’s claims.

A social worker at Regions, says the complaint, told officials the child’s injuries appeared to have been intentional. And, it was possible something had been placed over her face when she was submerged while being scalded in hot water.

When interviewed again, two days later, the woman said when she came home from work she found her daughter on the floor and Del Angel on the couch crying.

The woman and Del Angel, says the complaint, talked about what they were going to say had happened and she wanted to cover for him.

The complaint says Del Angel did not want authorities to know he was caring for the girl when she was burned, because they would take away the children.

Several items of evidence were recovered during a search of the residence.

Inside the bathtub authorities found a substance appearing to be the child’s skin which came off when she was wiped with a towel. The bathtub drain was nearly covered with the substance, says the complaint.

The assault charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine; malicious punishment 10 years and a $10,000 fine; and neglect or endangerment, five years and a $10,000 fine.