DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS – A Texas mother of five is expected to be sentenced Tuesday after admitting to gluing her 2-year-old daughter to a wall and beating her over potty training.
Elizabeth Escalona, 23, was in a Dallas County, Texas, court Monday as witnesses — including her mother and the pediatrician who cared for the toddler — testified in the first day of her sentencing hearing, while prosecutors showed pictures of the little girl’s hands and bruised body and forehead.
“The entire picture was very shocking,” said Dr. Amy Barton, then a child abuse pediatrician at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, choking back tears on the stand. “I see a lot of children, and this was one of the most shocking cases that I have seen.”
Jocelyn Cedillo was less than two months shy of her third birthday in September 2011 when Escalona, her mother, used a powerful adhesive to glue her hands to a wall and beat her.
Three other children of Escalona, who was pregnant at the time, witnessed the abuse, according to Dallas County district attorney’s office spokeswoman Debbie Denmon.
The child urinated on herself during the ordeal, during which she was hit in head and kicked in the groin, among other forms of abuse, said Denmon.
Oefelia Escalona, the defendant’s mother, testified Monday that she found the girl and took her to the hospital.
“I saw Jocelyn laying in the bed. She was facing the wall and …,” the 42-year-old woman said, before she started crying and turned away.
It wasn’t clear exactly how long young Jocelyn was glued to the wall before she was brought to the Dallas hospital. Once there, medical authorities noticed severe bruises to her face and head, as well as a severe brain injury that led to her temporarily being in a coma.
Escalona pleaded guilty on July 12 to a charge of first-degree injury to a child, a crime punishable by anywhere between five years and life in prison.
Prosecutors are asking Escalona be incarcerated for 45 years, so she will not cause any more harm to her children, Denmon said.
“When these types of crimes occur we have to send a message, not only to the perpetrator, but to the citizens of Dallas County as a whole,” District Attorney Craig Watkins told CNN. “If you choose to commit these types of crimes, we will ensure that you receive an adequate punishment.”
Prior to this incident, Escalona had been investigated by Texas Child Protective Services but never arrested or charged, said Denmon.
The child welfare agency put all of her children in foster care after her toddler daughter was taken to the hospital. All five of them, including Jocelyn, are now in the custody of their grandmother, Oefelia Escalona.