A woman who super-glued her two-year-old daughter’s hands to a wall also beat the girl so badly that she suffered bleeding on her brain, a doctor testified on Monday during the mother’s sentencing hearing.
Elizabeth Escalona faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty in July to attacking her daughter, Jocelyn Cedillo, in September last year. Police say the 23-year-old mother attacked the toddler due to potty training problems.
During a sentencing hearing that began on Monday, prosecutors presented gruesome photographs and details of the attack.
Jocelyn was hospitalized for about one week with injuries that included bleeding on her brain, a fractured rib, severe bruises and others likely caused by direct blows, according to Amy Barton, a former child abuse specialist at the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.
“When I think about the time involved in that and what that scene must have looked like, it’s overwhelming,” Barton said.
Police Senior Corporal Abel Lopez, who interviewed Escalona after the attack, showed a bottle of super glue taken out of the family’s apartment as well as a section of an apartment wall with Jocelyn’s handprints.
The sentencing hearing was scheduled to continue yesterday. Escalona’s attorney, Angie N’Duka, said she had not decided if her client would take the stand. A state district judge is to decide her punishment.
In a videotaped interview with Lopez after the attack, Escalona insisted over and over: “I’m taking the blame.” Lopez said on Monday that Escalona would not immediately explain why she was taking the blame, even as doctors fighting to save her daughter’s life needed information about what had happened.
“She never really asked” about Jocelyn’s condition, Lopez said. “I had to tell her.”
Escalona’s mother, Ofelia Escalona, testified about her panic and confusion when she arrived at the family home after the attack and found Jocelyn lying on the floor, taking shallow breaths. Under questioning from prosecutor Eren Price, Ofelia Escalona acknowledged that her daughter had also hit her several times when Elizabeth Escalona was growing up.
The grandmother said she came over after her daughter called her. She said she could see something wrong in her daughter’s face.
“I had my daughter in front of me, but she was not all there,” Ofelia Escalona said, her voice often breaking throughout her testimony.
She picked Jocelyn up off the floor and noticed the child had soiled her underwear, the grandmother said. She changed Jocelyn, ran with the girl to her car, and told her son to drive them to the hospital.
However, Jocelyn then started talking — asking for food — leading her grandmother to believe the girl did not need to go to the emergency room. She told her son to turn around.
“I made a horrible mistake,” Ofelia Escalona said.
As testimony ended, Elizabeth Escalona used tissues to wipe her eyes before sheriff’s deputies escorted her from the courtroom.