[PHOTO CREDIT: Lake County Sheriff’s Office]
[Original Publish Date: 11/23/20]
LEESBURG, Florida — A mother and her boyfriend are facing child neglect and child abuse charges after the man abused two babies —one just 6 months old— and blamed it on their 2-year-old sibling; and their mother failed to get them timely medical attention, according to their probable cause affidavits.
Gabrielle Faith Trevino, 21, took her children, a 6-month-old girl and a 1-year-old boy, to a birthday party on Nov. 12, one day after coming home to find her children with severe bruising on their faces. A partygoer, whose name and/or relationship to the children is redacted from the affidavit, observed the injuries and threatened to call the Department of Children and Families (DCF) if Trevino did not seek medical attention.
Trevino took the children to AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares, where Leesburg Police responded; the abuse occurred in the city limits of Leesburg, according to the affidavit. Trevino told LPD she left her children in the care of her boyfriend, Ezra Lukas Shay, 20, while she went to work on Nov. 11. Trevino said as she was walking home from work that afternoon, Shay texted her and stated that her 2-year-old son threw a flashlight at the infant girl’s face and slapped the 1-year-old boy across the face. She said all the children were sleeping when she returned home and when they awoke and she observed their injuries, she began to cry, according to the affidavit. She said Shay began to cry and apologized for playing video games instead of paying attention to the children.
The next day, Trevino took all the children to the birthday party and then to the hospital after the unidentified person threatened to call DCF. Trevino told police she did not believe Shay was responsible for their injuries because he was a “sweet guy” and he had been watching the children for about two months. She completed a sworn statement and signed an intent to prosecute, the affidavit states. An LPD officer attempted to photograph the children, but they were “rapidly shaking back and forth.” Police then notified DCF.
Later that day, an unidentified person took the children to the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) in Leesburg, where they were evaluated by a nurse who advised she had “serious concerns for their wellbeing.” She determined the children needed x-rays to rule out skull fractures and the children were taken to UF Health Leesburg.
While at the hospital, police found the 6-month-old girl with multiple bruises on her face and both temples, in varying shades of purple, yellow and brown, a large bruise on her lower right jaw and a bruise and cut on her forehead. The 1-year-old boy had four long red marks, resembling a handprint on the left side of his face and additional bruising on the left side of his face, the affidavit states. All three children, including the 2-year-old were evaluated and none were found to have skull fractures.
LPD contacted Shay and he told officers the 2-year-old boy was playing with a flashlight when Shay went to the restroom. When he came out, the 6-month-old girl was crying, and the flashlight was lying beneath her bassinet. Shay said he believed the boy threw the flashlight at the infant because the side of her face was red. Shay said, later, the children were playing together when the 2-year-old boy took a “running start and slapped” his brother across the face.
Police questioned Trevino again and asked why she did not get her children immediate medical attention. She told police she planned on taking them on her next day off, approximately five days later. She also said her 2-year-old son had a history of biting and hurting his brother and sister. At the conclusion of the interview, Trevino told police she no longer wanted to press charges.
The children were placed with an unidentified person for at least three weeks for their safety, according to the affidavit.
On Nov. 17, LPD interviewed Shay again and he changed his timeline of events several times and said the children were not supervised for about two of the four hours he was playing video games. He again blamed the injuries on the 2-year-old boy but could not explain most of the injuries on the infant’s face. LPD pointed out the injuries on the boy were not consistent with a 2-year-old’s hand and he agreed but could not offer an explanation. During the interview Shay began to cry and said, “I’m sorry.” When asked what he was sorry for, Shay reportedly responded that he should have been watching the children. Police asked if he would take a computer voice stress analysis (CVSA,) commonly known as a lie detector test and he agreed, but later cancelled, according to the affidavit.
The same day, police met with the nurse at the CAC who said the children’s injuries were not caused by the 2-year-old boy. Police went to see the 1-year-old victim and found the handprint was still visible nearly a week later and photographed the 2-year-old boy’s hand next to his brother’s face, showing it clearly did not match. The children’s caregiver told LPD the children have been “extremely clingy” and the older two become very emotional when anyone mentions they might go home.
Trevino and Shay were both arrested Friday; Trevino was released Saturday on $4,000 bond and Shay was released on $6,000 bond.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]