PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. - The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office has arrested Eliazar Delores Ramos Sr., 45 and Ofelia Melendes-Augustin, 39, on felony child abuse charges.
The sheriff's office says the two share a home on the 35000 Block of Hwy 96 E with four children ranging in age from two to nine.
Investigators say they believe the couple has developed a pattern of behavior consistent with child abuse and have been investigating the family for some time. Since July of 2012, there have been four reports of abuse at the home. The sheriff's office says all of the reports were investigated, but the children were not removed from the home due to a lack of evidence.
In a news release, the sheriff's office says the charges were recently forwarded to the district attorney's office by an independent review panel made up of the sheriff's office, the city-county health department, the child advocacy center, and the department of social services. The sheriff's office says the panel consulted with medical experts and regional hospitals that treated the children's injuries and said they recognized a pattern consistent with abuse and neglect.
Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor credits detectives leading the investigation, "It is always difficult for detectives when an injury reported to us as child abuse can't be substantiated and our hands are tied but when a pattern of abuse is uncovered it becomes clear that something has to be done. The detectives and the panel of experts did exactly what needed to be done to protect these children or it is very likely the injuries would have continued, perhaps even escalated."
The sheriff's office says some of the children's injuries were serious, and included burns and fractures.
All four children have been placed in foster care pending the outcome of the case.
Delores Ramos and Melendes-Augustine were arrested on September 5th by sheriff's detectives. Each is being held on $1,000,000.00 bond.