News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
SUNDAY, JULY 8, 2007

Baby found bruised, filthy

By Seth Burkett ∑ 340-2355

Authorities pulled dirty, bruised little Lluri Bargas from an apartment in Southwest Decatur and arrested her mother and her motherís boyfriend on child endangerment charges, according to a report released Friday.

The report, filed on the baby girlís behalf by Decatur police officer Vance Summers, said Summers went to 314 Cardinal Drive, Apartment No. 21, to investigate a 911 hang-up Sunday afternoon.

According to the report:

The man who answered the door, Fernando Pedro Lopez, 36, spoke little English, but told the officer that he was the one who called and that a little girl was sick.

Lopez led Summers to a back bedroom, where the 9-month-old lay on her back on the floor, surrounded by empty beer cans and partially eaten bananas and within reach of two ballpoint pens and a bleach bottle.

Two partially filled bottles of baby formula, their contents at room temperature, also lay nearby. There was no bed or furniture in the room other than a dresser used to store food at room temperature, which was about 86 to 88 degrees in the poorly air-conditioned apartment.

The place smelled of garbage and human waste.

Emergency personnel examined the baby and found small cuts around her ears.

She cried when they touched the lower half of her back, which was covered with fresh bruises.

Her diaper was soiled and her skin was chafed and raw. A rash spread over her arms, buttocks, legs and back.

Woman outside

The officer spoke with a woman who walked past outside.

She denied to police that she was the little girlís mother or that she lived in that apartment.

Lopez, however, pointed her out as the girlís mother and she admitted to it under further questioning.

The woman, identified as Caterina Gaspar Bargas, 25, staggered and bumped into doors and slurred her speech.

She and Lopez, who periodically fell asleep in his chair, both smelled strongly of alcohol.

Bargas told police she had gone to the store and left Lopez, her boyfriend, to watch Lluri.

The babyís father, she said, was in Guatemala.


Police arrested Bargas and Lopez on misdemeanor charges of endangering the childís welfare.

Bargas also faces a charge of giving false information to officers.

At the Decatur City Jail, an officer recognized Bargas as a woman who was wanted on three outstanding failure-to-appear warrants and one failure-to-pay warrant under the name Magdalina Vargas Marcos.

An ambulance took Lluri to Decatur General Hospital.

Following treatment, she was to be turned over to the Department of Human Resources, the report concluded.

Bargas and Lopez both remained in Decatur City Jail on Friday.

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