Houston 3-year-old in coma, mom accused of failing to prevent abuse

A 3-year-old Houston boy, who police said was badly beaten, is in a coma and hospitalized and his mother is in jail after being accused of failing to prevent the abuse or seeking medical help.

Jasmine Salas, 23, was being held on $150,000 bail at the Harris County Jail on Wednesday. She is charged with “injuring a child by omission,” a first-degree felony.

Houston police allege the child, Nehemiah Torres, was beaten by Salas’ boyfriend, who, according to Harris County District Court No. 351 documents, was not charged. Police declined to release information about the man, citing an open investigation.

Salas is accused of doing nothing to prevent the abuse. She also did not seek medical attention for her child’s injuries, according to court documents.

The boy was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital by LifeFlight on Friday night, his great-aunt Emma Schiefer said.

According to records, Salas was arrested at 5:41 p.m. Monday.

Nehemiah suffered multiple injuries, including a subdural hematoma, burns to the scalp, fractured ribs, crushed lungs, lacerated liver and fluid in the lungs, court documents said. It was also determined that he was severely malnourished.

According to the documents, although Salas witnessed numerous acts of abuse, Salas continued to place the child in her boyfriend’s care.

“Because of the brain injury and trauma, doctors don’t believe Nehemiah will be the same smiling boy we remember; he may never fully recover,” said Schiefer, the aunt of the child’s birth father.

Nehemiah, his biological father and the boy’s 5-year-old brother had lived with Schiefer for about a year.

The boys moved in with Salas in August, Schiefer said.

“I wasn’t happy that the boys were in their care,” Scheifer said. Her nephew, the biological father, “had them for two years, so they were with me. When (the mother) started taking care of her, I asked, ‘Why?’ But there was nothing I could do.”

“He’s a sweet boy,” Schiefer said of Nehemiah. “He did not deserve that. Nobody deserves that, let alone a 3 year old.”

Scheifer said she didn’t know how authorities became aware of the child’s condition. Harris County Child Protective Services, she said, had custody of Nehemiah’s older brother as of Wednesday.

She also said she didn’t suspect anything was wrong when she last saw the boys in November, on Nehemiah’s birthday.

“When I look at him in the hospital now, how thin he is now,” Scheifer said, “the doctors can say he couldn’t have eaten much; he has been malnourished for months.”

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