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May 2, 2014 at 8:03 AM

Vancouver mother suspected of breaking baby’s bones

Paris Achen / The Columbian

A Vancouver, Wash., mother is accused of breaking eight bones in her 1-year-old son’s body.

Tara A. Mendoza, 24, appeared Thursday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of three counts of first-degree assault of a child.

The circumstances that caused the fractures are not known because the mother isn’t cooperating with investigators, according to a court affidavit by Vancouver police Detective Monica Hernandez.

Judge Barbara Johnson held Mendoza in Clark County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. Johnson said Mendoza doesn’t qualify for a court-appointed attorney and will need to hire her own.

Personnel at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center called Child Protective Services (CPS) on April 9 to report that the 1-year-old boy had a fractured left femur and a fractured left tibia that was healing. Physicians later discovered six more broken bones in the child’s body, according to court records.

Mendoza allegedly refused to meet with CPS social workers April 21, so CPS removed the child from her custody.

Mendoza’s husband, Carlos, and other witnesses told police that Mendoza is the boy’s primary caretaker and that there were only two times between April 5 and April 21 when the boy was out of her care, Hernandez wrote.

On one of those occasions, a baby sitter said she noticed that the boy was favoring one leg, according to court records.

Hernandez wrote that Mendoza “has been extremely uncooperative in providing information about any events surrounding (the boy’s) injuries and has not been forthcoming or honest in the police and CPS interviews, contradicting herself throughout.”

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: assault, CPS

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