Jose Ornelas, 21, is charged with one count of felony child abuse. He is accused of repeatedly punching a little boy in the face. The boy's mother's long time boyfriend Armando Saldana is charged with cruelty to a child by endangering his health for not immediately getting the boy medical attention when he saw the boy's injuries.
The young victim's mother, Patty, talked with ABC7 about the attack, but did not want to appear on camera. She says her son's nickname is JoJo.
Patty says she and Armando dropped JoJo off at Armando's grandmother's apartment in Watsonville on Thursday, while they went to an appointment in Salinas. Patty says at some point on Thursday Jose Ornelas was with JoJo and lashed out at him. She says Jose has been around JoJo for years without any problems.
She was shocked by what she saw on Friday. She says, "He has black eyes, a swollen face, and is complaining of a lot of headaches. He also has nightmares and a lot of trouble sleeping."
Patty says when Armando went to pick up JoJo, Jose tried to cover up the assault by saying the two were playing in the park when gang members attacked them. Police also say there is no reasonable explanation why Armando would not have immediately gotten the boy medical attention which is why he is also now charged with a crime.
Lt. Darren Thompson says, "As a department, we are outraged by this crime. Any reasonable person would have seen those injuries, acted upon them and gotten the child medical care right away."
Patty says she and her mother called police as soon as she realized what had happened to her son. She says JoJo is out of the hospital and will be getting counseling.
Patty has no idea what set off the senseless attack and says, "No idea. What could a 4-year-old possibility do to deserve what my son got?"
The next court date for the two men is March 30.