SHERMAN OAKS —On April 23, a couple suspected of seriously abusing and neglecting their 2-year-old daughter plead not guilty to child abuse and child endangerment charges.
23-year-old Lorena Arenas and 41-year-old Jose Luis Gonzalez, both Santa Maria residents, appeared in the Santa Barbara County Court in Santa Maria. Arenas is accused of torture and abuse of a child with great bodily injury, and Gonzalez is suspected of felony child endangerment. Both have plead not guilty to felony charges.
The abuse reportedly occurred on April 14, on the 400 block of South Pine Street, where the child was suspected of being kept in the home 13 hours after Arenas allegedly punished the child. Arenas is accused of burning the toddler by holding her under scalding hot faucet water for several minutes. Gonzalez is accused of failing to take the girl to the hospital despite the discovery of her injuries. Arenas checked the toddler into the Marian Medical Center, where the police was later summoned at about 5 a.m. the following morning.
The injured toddler was later transported to the Sherman Oaks Burn Center for special care after third-degree burns were found on her hands and forearms. Arenas was arrested and taken into custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail for suspected torture, aggravated mayhem, burglary, false imprisonment and child endangerment. Police are also accusing the woman of kidnapping and burglary for related incidents. Gonzalez was arrested based on accusations of child endangerment. Arenas’s bail amount is set at $1 million, and Gonzalez’s bail amount is set at $100,000.
Another toddler in the home was reportedly placed with Child Welfare Services, along with the injured child. Police suspect that the 2-year-old had been repeatedly punished with water in the past. The investigation is ongoing.
The couple’s next court hearing is scheduled for May 13.