Utah Daycare Operator Allegedly Broke Baby's Legs By Slamming Him to Floor Feet-First

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A 66-year-old woman who ran an unlicensed daycare is behind bars after allegedly breaking the legs of a 10-month-old boy in her care last month, PEOPLE confirms.

Elvira Ortega has been charged with felony child abuse after allegedly confessing to hurting the baby because he wouldn’t stop crying, according to a declaration of probable cause obtained by PEOPLE.

On Feb. 22, the child’s mother dropped him off at the Salt Lake City daycare Ortega and her adult daughter ran.

When the boy’s mother picked him up later that same day, she became concerned with his behavior. He seemed to be in pain, the court document states.

The next day, the mother noticed that her son only wanted to be held. He did not want to sit, crawl or move. She went back to Ortega and her daughter to confront them about her son’s pain. The pair’s statements were allegedly “inconsistent and unsatisfactory” to the mother, according to the document.

Worried, the mother brought the boy to a local children’s hospital.

Doctors found that both of the boy’s tibias in his legs were fractured below the knee, according to the document. The injuries are unusual for a child not yet walking but are consistent with forceful impact of the child’s feet with a hard surface, a pediatrician told authorities.

During an interview with Salt Lake City police, Orterga allegedly admitted that she was frustrated with the boy because he wouldn’t stop crying. While holding the boy, Ortega slammed him down on the bathroom floor feet-first, she allegedly confessed.

Ortega and her daughter were caring for multiple children at the time of the alleged incident, according to KSTU.

Ortega allegedly told police she would “rather be deported than go to jail,” the station reports.

Police declined to comment on Ortega’s immigration status but did say that not all daycares have to be licensed in the state of Utah. Investigators are unsure if Ortega’s adult daughter, who has not been publicly identified, was present during the incident, Sgt. Brandon Shearer tells PEOPLE.

It is unclear if Ortega has an attorney or has entered a plea, according to Salt Lake County court officials.



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