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Toddler allegedly abused at hands of Gustine mother
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The Merced County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a Gustine mother on abuse charges after it was discovered her 11-month-old daughter had multiple fractures.Maria Galicia, 26, was booked into the Merced County Jail on Monday on charges of child endangerment likely to produce great bodily harm or death, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie. She was released on bail, but was arrested again on Tuesday on suspicion of aggravated assault. She is being held at the jail in lieu of a $500,000 bail.

The case was first brought to the attention of the sheriff’s department by Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera. The mother had taken the child to Los Banos Hospital because the little girl kept pulling her ear and thought she might have an ear infection. The hospital realized there was more going on and sent the child to Children’s Hospital for further examination, MacKenzie said.

After the initial exam, doctors at Children’s Hospital discovered that the 11 month old had a fractured skull, broken arm, fractured leg and a burn on her arm from a flat iron used to straighten hair. She also had old fractures that were healing. MacKenzie said the skull fracture ran from the top to the back of her head.

 Detectives Dwayne Pavelski and Mike Ruiz interviewed Galicia to determine the cause of the injuries and gathered evidence from the hospital.  The detectives then placed her under arrest. Galicia lives in the 4000 block of Highway 33 near Gustine and has been living in Gustine for about seven months.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.