Mother charged after 2 toddlers found without food in cockroach-infested trailer in Southern Utah

Virginia Mary Martinez. Photo: Washington County

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah, April 14, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A woman has been charged with child abuse-abandonment after her small children were found covered with bug bites and filth, and without food in a damaged trailer home in Washington County.

A Washington County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the scene, on the Shivwits Reservation, after being asked on April 7 to help on a call involving a verbal argument between Virginia Mary Martinez and a male subject, according to a probable cause statement.

Martinez, 39, appeared to be intoxicated, the statement says.

“She smelled very strongly of an alcoholic beverage, (and) she would get agitated very easy and was hard to reason with,” the statement says.

But of greater concern to the deputy were the woman’s children, a 2-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy.

“Virginia’s children were filthy,” the statement says. “(The) 3 year old had mud all over him and was eating old food that was on the counter. The food appeared to be old noodles that was drying out and changing color.”

The boy had bruising and a rash or bug bites, the statement says. The girl had matted hair and skin flaking off her scalp. Her skin was rough from a medical condition, Martinez told officers, and the toddler girl appeared to have bug bites on her feet.

“Both kids were very dirty and (it) did not appear that they were being cared for very well,” the statement says. “The trailer was infested with bugs and cockroaches.”

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A day earlier, another deputy was at the residence for a family fight and saw the 2-year-old on a broken porch, the statement said. When the officer warned Martinez, she told him the girl had fallen off the porch before, and learned to avoid the hazard. The girl then fell from the porch, the statement said.

In addition, officials noted that the trailer had holes in its walls, floor and ceilings, and had one bathroom with a non-functional toilet in the shower.

A second bathroom had a toilet that appeared to be functional, but there were holes in the shower floor preventing its use.

A child welfare caseworker contacted by officials stated that the 2-year-old’s skin condition required she live in a sterile environment, the statement said. The caseworker also said Martinez had no vehicle and no way to get food.

The caseworker made arrangements to take the children into protective custody, the probable cause statement says.

The document also notes that family members who dropped by the residence during the investigation told officials that Martinez had a substance-abuse problem, “but she did not want to be clean and go through rehab.”

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