News outlets in New Mexico have renewed calls for governmental investigation into the death of a 4-year-old boy under gruesome circumstances, particularly into how state youth protective services missed obvious signs of abuse that should have triggered intervention. As reported by the Albuquerque Journal, 2 months before James Dunklee Cruz died he was brought to an urgent care center with an injured shoulder, a black eye, and bruising on his penis—all at the hands of “men in his mother’s life” according to one published story. A police video shot at the urgent care center shows the boy, arm in a sling, answering an officer’s questions. (Presumably, urgent care staff had summoned the authorities due to the nature of the boy’s injuries.) The mother’s roommate ultimately pled guilty to child abuse resulting in death; autopsy revealed multiple jaw fractures and previous head trauma, as well as more recent injuries to his torso. Now the Children, Youth and Families Department has to explain why it didn’t intervene when it had the chance. Not all presentations related to child abuse are as obvious. For a reminder of possibly subtle signs that a child is in danger at home or another setting, read An Updated Approach to Toddler Fractures and A 5-Month-Old with Symptoms Beyond the Presenting Complaint in the JUCM archive.
A Dead Child, a Grim Reminder: Trust Your Gut If Something Seems Off About a Child’s Injuries