'Baby Isaac' Trial Begins

rtm27

VIP Member
'Baby Isaac' Trial Begins
By Melissa Schroeder

Posted : Jul 7, 2010 4:07 PM
Updated: Jul 7, 2010 5:55 PM

CORPUS CHRISTI - Testimony began today in the trial of three women accused of nearly starving a three-year-old boy to death.

Back in February 2009, little Isaac Villarreal's uncle took the boy to the hospital after his mother found him unconscious on his bed.

Doctors say that Isaac was severely malnourished and he weighed just 23 pounds and had no muscle mass.

Isaac's mother, Alma Linda Villarreal, her girlfriend Vanessa Zuniga, and Vanessa's mother, Maria Yolanda Zuniga, have been charged with injury to a child.

The first testimony jurors heard today was from Isaac's mother in a taped interview with a Corpus Christi police detective.

Alma Villarreal described her son as a good kid, very smart and independent with a big appetite.

In fact, the day she found him unconscious she told the detective, "He ate three scrambled eggs with ketchup, bread, and milk for breakfast."

She says after breakfast, her son went upstairs to his bedroom to watch cartoons, about an hour later, Villarreal says she checked on the boy and he wasn't moving.

She said, "His eyes were all black, you couldn't see the whites of his eyes. I screamed Isaac, Isaac and he was barely breathing so we called 911!"

During the interview, the detective showed Villarreal photos of her son at the hospital.

The detective told Villarreal there was bruising on her son's bottom because he had no fat on his body and, the detective showed her his bony spine poking out through his skin.

Still, Villarreal denied anything was wrong and said Isaac didn't have any medical problems.

She said, "I'm not hiding anything, all four of my kids are my life, he's my one and only boy, I don't know what's going on."

She also said, "You would starve yourself, before you starve your kid."

Little Isaac and his three sisters are currently in foster care.

The trial will continue tomorrow morning.

Hospital Personnel Describe Malnourished 3-Year-Old's Condition
By Rashi Vats

Posted : Jul 8, 2010 12:22 PM
Updated: Jul 8, 2010 5:51 PM

CORPUS CHRISTI - Testimony continued today in the trial of three women accused of nearly starving a three-year-old boy to death.

The pediatric doctor at Driscoll Children's Hospital, who cared for little Isaac Villarreal for four months in the intensive care unit, described his malnourished condition.

"There was more fluid than brain in his skull which can be attributed to the malnourishment," said the doctor. "When I first saw him in February of 2009, some things became striking to me. There was exposure of every bone. There wasn't even a little bottom to pat him. There was no body fat. Every time I walked by him he would yell ‘Doctor! Doctor! Hamburger! Cheeseburger!'"

The doctor says he talked with Isaac's mother who told him Isaac always ate a lot and was always hungry but never gained weight.

"What the mother told me was definitely not consistent with what I was seeing," said the doctor.

A social worker at Driscoll Children's hospital, Belinda Luera, took the stand as well. She said she saw Isaac back in December 2008 when his mother, Alma Villarreal, brought him in Driscoll Children's hospital for weight loss. She also saw him in February 2010 when he was brought in.

"In December when I saw him, his rib cage and spine weren't anywhere near what it looked like in February," said Luera. "The mother told me Isaac would go through the trashcan to look for food and she didn't know his eating or sleeping schedule. She said someone else took care of that."

The doctor said Isaac gained weight and was healthy after the hospital took care of him.

When district attorney Anna Jimenez asked what kind of care brought him to good health, the doctor responded," T-L-C. Tender love and care."

The boy's mother, Alma Linda Villarreal, her girlfriend, Vanessa Zuniga and Vanessa's mother, Maria Yolanda Zuniga, are all charged with injury to a child.

Last February Isaac's uncle found him unconscious and rushed him to the hospital.

During a taped interview played in court yesterday, the boy's mother said he ate all the time and seemed healthy, so she had no idea why he wasn't gaining weight.

Testimony continues this afternoon.


Tearful Testimony By Malnourished 3-Year-Old's Sister
By Rashi Vats

Posted : Jul 8, 2010 5:28 PM
Updated: Jul 8, 2010 5:49 PM

CORPUS CHRISTI - It was an emotional afternoon in court as the 13-year-old daughter of one of three women accused of nearly starving a boy to death took the stand today.

The girl, Amanda Gonzalez, told the jury something she says she's never revealed before.

She described her mother, Alma Villarreal, as caring and loving. When it came to her four-year-old brother Isaac, she told the jury," Sometimes he couldn't play. He was sick. Isaac didn't get to eat everyday because he didn't always get food."

Gonzalez says her mother did give them food, it was Vanessa Zuniga, Alma's girlfriend, that didn't.

After a lot of crying and shaking, Gonzalez built up the courage to say," Vanessa would sometimes give him food, but many times Vanessa wouldn't let him have food. Sometimes one meal or all day. There were times where Vanessa would eat in front of him or make us eat in front of him and not give him food. He would cry."

Gonzalez also talked about how weak her little brother would get.

She shared a room with him. She told the court he would just lie in his bed and "sometimes he wet the bed because he couldn't leave his room," said Gonzalez.

Her tearful testimony ended late Thursday afternoon.
 

rtm27

VIP Member
Thread starter
Defendant Vanessa Zuniga Takes the Stand in Starved Child Trial

By Parrish Alleman

Posted : Jul 13, 2010 11:03 AM

CORPUS CHRISTI - 27 year old Vanessa Zuniga, one of three women accused of starving three year old Isaac Villarreal, took the stand in her own defense Tuesday Morning.

Zuniga is Isaac's mother Alma Villarreal's girlfriend. She told the jury Isaac used to be overweight as a child, and said a doctor in Brownsville even told them he needed to lose weight. But she said in 2008 he started losing weight rapidly.

She described the events leading up to Isaac's first stay at Driscoll Children's Hospital, "He started losing too much weight and we were worrying about him so she and my mom took her to the hospital in 2008 and they told her he looked like he was starving and they put him in Driscoll."

She told the court the hospital told the child was fine and had a condition called, "failure to thrive."

She claims neither she nor the other two defendants ever starved Isaac.

Woman accused of nearly starving boy hurt by allegation, she says
Three women face felony injury to a child charge
By Mary Ann Cavazos
Corpus Christi Caller Times
Posted July 13, 2010 at 12:01 p.m., updated July 13, 2010 at 12:15 p.m.

CORPUS CHRISTI — A woman accused of nearly starving her girlfriend's 3-year-old son to death said Tuesday she feels hurt by the allegation and doesn't know why he lost so much weight.

Alma Villarreal, her girlfriend Vanessa Zuniga and Maria Zuniga are being tried on a felony charge of injury to a child.

They are accused of abusing Villarreal's son, who was hospitalized last year because of his malnourished state. The Zunigas are mother and daughter.

Vanessa Zuniga said Villarreal took him to the hospital two months before his February 2009 hospital stay because of their growing concerns over his weight loss.

She said their worries over his health sometimes brought her and Villarreal to tears.

She said she also cried when Villarreal's two oldest daughters testified last week that she hit the boy and often withheld food from him.

"I was hurt," she said. "I have no idea why they're saying things like that because it's not true."

She said she loves Villarreal's four children and treated them the same.
 
Last edited:

wheelo

Admin
Staff member
TK Supporter
this is absolutely disgraceful, i hope that whoever was responsible gets their just desserts
 

rtm27

VIP Member
Thread starter
I have not posted any pictures of the boy in question, as the images are just too sickening. Seeing how he was starved....it just made me sick and upset just about everyone down here. Since being put into foster care over a year ago, he has gained more than 20 pounds. When the 3 ladies were arrested and charged, they were moved into protective custody to keep them away from the other inmates, where they have remained since.
 

rtm27

VIP Member
Thread starter
"Not A Lesbian Man Hater," Closing Arguments Underway

By Rashi Vats
Posted : Jul 14, 2010 11:14 AM
Updated: Jul 14, 2010 11:33 AM

CORPUS CHRISTI - Closing arguments started at 10 a.m. this morning in the case of three women accused of starving three year old Isaac Villarreal.

District Attorney, Anna Jimenez, reminded the jury of Villarreal's condition in February 2009-being starved to the point of being minutes to death.

"He went to the hospital with a blood sugar level of 3. He had to use his brain tissue and bone marrow to fuel his body," said Jimenez.

She explained that Isaac's mother, Alma Villarreal, had an affair and then became pregnant with Isaac. Later Alma returned to Vanessa Zuniga, her girlfriend, who took her back. Jimenez argued that Zuniga wouldn't want to be reminded of anything or anyone from Alma's affair, like Isaac. This was the state's response to earlier testimony from Isaac's 13-year-old sister saying Vanessa was the one who would starve Isaac.

Jimenez said, "It doesn't matter that this is a same sex relationship. Isaac was dying and then taken to the hospital and fed, and he got better."

The defense argued that Driscoll Children's Hospital made a mistake by releasing Isaac from the hospital the first time he was admitted in December of 2008 because he was underweight.

Alma Villarreal's attorney, argued that Alma, Isaac's mother, did everything requested by the medical world.

"Prior to these allegations, no one had said Isaac was being mistreated. Isaac told the doctor that his mother did not hurt him," said Hector Gonzalez, Villarreal's attorney.

The defense compared Isaac's condition in December his condition in February.

"I think he looked horrible, but if he looked that way in December, why didn't Driscoll do something about it in December? The description on the medical records of Isaac in December, matches the picture. Driscoll made a mistake," said Rey Pena, Vanessa Zuniga's attorney. "There's no evidence that because she's a lesbian she's a man hater. She has no criminal history and she says if she could go back and do it all over again, she would do some things differently. But it's not her duty."

The jury will begin deliberating after lunch.

If convicted the women could face five to 99 years or life in prison and as much as a $10,000 fine.
 

wheelo

Admin
Staff member
TK Supporter
"He went to the hospital with a blood sugar level of 3. He had to use his brain tissue and bone marrow to fuel his body," said Jimenez.

i think that this says all that needs to be said, may these [email protected]$tards rot in hell
 

anto1969

Super Moderator
Staff member
TK Supporter
Very very sad, as wheelo said I hope whoever is responsible gets everything that they deserve, you would'nt do that to an animal ffs :(

Thanks for the updates Ray ;)
 

rtm27

VIP Member
Thread starter
Jury finds women guilty in starved boy case

Boy’s mother and her girlfriend could face as long as life in prison
By Mary Ann Cavazos
Corpus Christi Caller Times
Posted July 14, 2010 at 12:30 p.m., updated July 14, 2010 at 4:36 p.m.

CORPUS CHRISTI — A jury on Wednesday found three women guilty of nearly starving a 3-year-old boy to death.

The boy's mother, Alma Villarreal, her girlfriend Vanessa Zuniga and Maria Zuniga were found guilty of injury to a child.

Villarreal and Vanessa Zuniga were convicted of a first-degree felony. Maria Zuniga was found guilty of the lesser charge, a second-degree felony.

The boy was hospitalized last year because of his malnourished state.

Jurors deliberated about three hours before reaching the verdicts.

Villarreal and Vanessa Zuniga face five to 99 years or life in prison. Maria Zuniga faces two to 20 years in prison.

The sentencing phase will begin on Thursday.
 

rtm27

VIP Member
Thread starter
MOTHER OF STARVED 3-YEAR-OLD SPEAKS

By Rashi Vats
Posted : Jul 15, 2010 10:40 AM

CORPUS CHRISTI - The mother of Isaac Villarreal told the jury she now looks back and would have done things differently.

Alma Villarreal, Isaac's mother, was crying on the stand saying it breaks her to know that she won't see her son and other children again.

She told the jury," I wish I would have followed up and done things differently. I'm sorry and I don't even know what to say anymore."

Family and friends of Alma were also very emotional in the courtroom as Alma told the jury she is very happy that Isaac is doing well now.

"I haven't seen him in 17 months. I am so happy that Isaac is doing better now, it makes me very happy to hear that," said Alma.

When District Attorney Anna Jimenez asked Alma what she is sorry for, she responded, "I'm sorry for everything that I have done wrong. I am sorry for starving Isaac even though I didn't do it."

With regards to her daughters having to testify she said, "They shouldn't have to do that. They are so young and they shouldn't have to go through all of this."

Alma's parents both had tearful testimonies and said that their daughter was always a very good child growing up. Her mother, Gracie Villarreal, believes Isaac was skinny because he had Sickle-cell disease which runs in her family.

"Alma didn't do anything wrong, she's my daughter, she's my heart. I love her and I don't want her to go nowhere," said Gracie.

A social worker from Driscoll Children's hospital, Jody Mendoza, also took the stand and said Isaac seemed like he didn't want to have anything to do with Alma, his mother. Mendoza said Alma would try to touch him and tried to talk to him at the hospital, but Isaac got agitated and Alma was asked to leave.

Tara O'Connell, a Child Protective services worker who recently saw Isaac, says that he is doing really well, but still harmed psychologically.

"In my 14 years of working with CPS, I have never seen a child change his identity. Isaac goes by Big Boy Benjamin now," said O'Connell.

She explained that when Isaac sees old pictures of himself, he identifies that child as ‘Little Isaac.'

Stacy Jones, a case worker, took the stand and said, "Isaac tells us he is scared of Vanessa and his mom. We tell him he is in a safe place now."

Jones said that his two sisters that took the stand also tell them they are afraid.

"They tell us they are afraid of retaliation because of coming out with things in court that happened at home and we tell them they are safe now," said Jones.

CPS says they have a long term plan of adoption for Isaac. The family that adopts him will received post-adoptive services, which include medical and psychological treatment, for Isaac.

The defense asked for mercy from the jury. They argued that Isaac's condition was a medical mistake, and it's the hospital's fault for releasing Isaac from the hospital when he was underweight back in December 2008.

Maria Zuniga, Isaac's grandmother, was convicted of a 2nd degree felony. Zuniga's attorney, Rene Rodriguez, said Zuniga deserves probation and no jail time since she is not convicted of a 1st degree felony.

District Attorney Anna Jimenez asked for mercy for Isaac.

"Imagine what it was like for him when he was hurting in the middle of the night because he didn't have any food. He was so weak he had to pee on himself and he had to lie in his urine," said Jimenez. "Isaac had to lie on a pillow most of us wouldn't even have a dog sleep on. Who deserved the mercy here? This little boy deserved the mercy."


The punishment phase concluded. Punishment deliberation will start this afternoon.
 
Last edited:

rtm27

VIP Member
Thread starter
Jury sentences two to prison, one to probation in starved boy case

Jury sentences two to prison, one to probation in starved boy case
Posted July 16, 2010 at 9:34 a.m.

Two women were sentenced Friday to prison time and one probation for nearly starving a 3-year-old boy to death.

The boy's mother, Alma Villarreal, was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Her girlfriend Vanessa Zuniga was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Zuniga's mother, Maria, was sentenced to a suspended prison term of 10 years, which means she will serve probation.

Jurors deliberated about three hours in Thursday and about an hour Friday.
 

rtm27

VIP Member
Thread starter
I have an update coming for this story.....one I just saw on the 6 p.m. news and one I did not know about....and just shocked me. I am trying to find links for both stories, and so far have only found a link for one story. I am just now trying to figure out what else is gonna come out now that the trial is over.

Just now found the other link I was looking for to cut and paste here. They don't have the video link set up yet, and if they do I will post the link which will take you to the news page and you can watch the video link there.

Protest for Three Women Found Guilty of Starving Child


Protest for Three Women Found Guilty of Starving Child
By Parrish Alleman

Posted : Jul 19, 2010 6:37 PM

CORPUS CHRISTI - As we've reported Alma Villarreal was sentenced to 30 years in prison last Friday for starving her 3 year old son Isaac.

Alma's girlfriend, Vanessa Zuniga was convicted of the same charge and she was given 40 years in prison. Zuniga's mother, Maria Zuniga was found guilty of a lesser charge and she was given 10 years probation.

Monday, friends and relatives of the three women gathered outside the Nueces County Courthouse to protest the verdicts and the sentences which they claim aren't fair.

Armed with signs and a simple message, friends and family of three women found guilty last Wednesday marched in front of the Nueces county courthouse.

Despite the jury's guilty verdict they say they want to let everyone know their loved ones never starved three year old Isaac Villarreal.

"If we really thought that was happening, we wouldn't be out here we'd be looking stupid. But we're trying to prove her innocence," Vanessa's sister Cynthia Contreras said.

Cynthia Contreras claims Isaac's mother Alma Villarreal tried to get her son medical attention when he first started losing weight but say doctors sent the boy home after a few days.

"If they thought they he was being starved then, then they should have took action, they should have called cps. They should have done something before they let him go," Contreras said.

Family and friends argue the jury reached the wrong conclusion when they were shown these graphic images of little Isaac.

"You can't judge a book by its cover and that's what they did, they saw the picture of the little boy and they automatically thought they starved him," Contreras said.

Cynthia also believes Vanessa Zuniga and her girlfriend Alma Villarreal were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. And they're especially upset with the way the prosecution portrayed the women.

"A man hating lesbian," Contreras said.

They say they intend to keep protesting until all three women are released, no matter how long it takes.

"If we can't be heard, here in corpus, we're going to take it to higher level and go out of town we're going to do something because it's not right," Contreras said.


Woman Sentenced To 30 Years For Starving Child, Now Pregnant

Woman Sentenced To 30 Years For Starving Child, Now Pregnant

KIIITV News

Story Created: Jul 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM CDT

Story Updated: Jul 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM CDT

July 18, 2010

On Friday morning she was sentenced to 30 years for nearly starving her child to death. By Friday evening, 29 year old Alma Villarreal was diagnosed as being pregnant with her fifth child. 3News has been following the story and tonight confirmation from various sources that Villarreal is in fact with child.
 

rtm27

VIP Member
Thread starter
Judge: Woman on probation in starved boy case to serve jail time


Judge: Woman on probation in starved boy case to serve jail time
Parenting classes, community service also required
By Mary Ann Cavazos
Corpus Christi Caller Times
Posted July 21, 2010 at 9:53 a.m., updated July 21, 2010 at 11:08 a.m.


CORPUS CHRISTI — A judge on Wednesday ordered that a woman given probation for nearly starving a 3-year-old boy to death serve six months in jail.

Maria Zuniga, 46, appeared before 117th District Judge Sandra Watts in shackles and jail garb to hear the conditions of probation.

While on probation, she must attend parenting classes, complete 200 hours of community service and pay off a $10,000 fine.

"Obviously you're going to have to get a job," the judge said.

Zuniga, her daughter, Vanessa Zuniga and her daughter's girlfriend, Alma Villarreal were convicted last week of injury to a child.

They were accused of starving Villarreal's son, who was hospitalized last year because of his malnourished state.

Villarreal, 29, and Vanessa Zuniga, 27, were convicted of a first-degree felony and sentenced to prison time.

The elder Zuniga was convicted of a second-degree felony and was the only one eligible for probation. Her 10-year prison sentence was suspended.

Villarreal's two oldest daughters have described Maria Zuniga as a grandmother figure and said Vanessa Zuniga often would starve their brother.

The judge said like Zuniga she is a grandmother but that Zuniga broke a code that all grandmothers must follow: protect the children.

"You failed that and miserably," she told her. "That child needed you."

She also reminded Zuniga she is not to have any contact with the boy, now 4, and his three sisters.

Her attorney, Rene Rodriguez, said she decided not to appeal based on his advice that winning a new trial leaves open the possibility for a harsher sentence.

District Attorney Anna Jimenez said she was pleased that the judge sanctioned Zuniga to jail time now because it means that won't be an option if she violates probation.

It makes it more likely her probation would be revoked if she violates it.

Friends and family of the three women protested the convictions outside the courthouse earlier this week but none attended the Wednesday hearing.

Jimenez said she thinks the women's supporters don't understand what happened. "Child abuse is a crime of secrecy," she said. "I wish they were advocates for (the boy.)"

She pointed out what doctors said: He had no mystery illness and gained weight after he was fed.

"The evidence speaks for itself," she said.

The four children are in foster care, and a judge is set to decide next month whether Villarreal's parental rights will be terminated.

Villarreal's attorney has said jail officials discovered she is pregnant with her another child.
 
Top