Judge says baby's feet burned with cigarettes

Sarah Elizabeth Cox and Mario Prado in Court

A San Benito man and woman are behind bars after being accused in a child abuse case where they're accused of burning their baby TMs foot with a cigarette.

San Benito police arrested 20-year-old Sarah Elizabeth Cox and 38-year-old Mario Prado on three counts of injury to a child.

Investigators told Action 4 News that police arrested the couple at their home off North Reagan and Hicks Streets on Tuesday afternoon.

According to San Benito police, the one-and-a-half-year-old girl not only had burn marks on her feet but she also had bites and other cuts on her body.

"They grabbed a cigarette and burned that little girl's foot," said San Benito Municipal Court Judge David Garza. "That is very disturbing to me and it should be to a lot of people."

Court records show that Child Protective Services had previously taken the girl away from Cox due to a drug problem.

But case workers gave the girl back after Cox completed drug counseling classes.

The girl's former foster mother was babysitting when she saw the injuries one New Year TMs Eve and took the baby to the hospital prompting an investigation.

According to the court records, Cox claimed the baby girl had a stress problem and would scrach herself until she bled.

The couple also claimed that the injury to the baby girl's foot was caused by a splinter in her crib.

Bond Cox and Prado appeared before Judge Garza on Tuesday afternoon where they were both issued $300,000 dollar bonds.

The couple, who also have another newborn baby, said they were unemployed and requested a lower bond but Judge Garza denied the request.

"We as a society should not tolerate that type of behavoior and we will not," Judge Garza later explained.

Neighbors at the fourplex where the couple lived declined to talk on camera but said Prado was the manager who acted as the landlord and collected rent.

The neighbors said the couple was quiet and that they had only heard the baby crying once but it was a normal baby's cry.

Child Protective Services has taken the couple's children into custody.

Judge Garza told Action 4 News that the toughest but most important job in the world is to be a responsible parent.

"It has always been my opinion that any male can be a father and that any female can be a mother but the key is to be a parent," Garza said.