Adoptive parents arrested in child abuse case say child 'can't feel pain'

Date: 2011-04-26

By: Alex Ferri

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Maricopa Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 3-year-old boy’s adoptive parents Friday in Scottsdale after finding the boy unconscious in a bathroom and documenting multiple other instances of possible abuse, officials said.

Roman Bravo’s adoptive parents, Angel and Osanna Bravo, were taken into custody after an investigation revealed multiple incidents of potential abuse to their three-year-old son, officials said. Around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, while Roman was under the care of Osanna, he allegedly fell off a toilet and hit his head, causing serious injury.

Medics transported Roman to Phoenix Children’s Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for a skull fracture and brain bleeding. Doctors also discovered a lacerated liver and bruising on his arm and chest and ruled the injuries “suspected non-accidental trauma,” according to a report.

At admittance, testing to reveal any further injures was impossible, officials said, due to Roman’s serious malnourishment.

After Roman reportedly fell off the toilet seat while Angel Bravo and their biological son Angel Gabriel Bravo, 7, were at a basketball game. Osanna said she forgot how to perform CPR and began to hit Roman’s chest in an effort to revive him before calling paramedics.

Multiple other incidents have occurred since Roman was adopted in 2009, according to several reports.

On July 29, 2009, Roman was treated at Paradise Valley Hospital for a broken arm he apparently received either during rough play with his brother or while his father spun him around to calm him down, according to a report.

On April 7, 2011, Angel Gabriel Bravo reported to teachers at his school that Roman had scratches and bruises all over his body from his mother’s abuse. Both incidents remain ongoing investigations, officials said.

While at Phoenix Children’s Hospital Tuesday, Osanna reported that Roman had recently hit his head on a dog cage, requiring stitches.

Osanna Bravo claims that Roman “does not feel pain” and often runs into walls and doorways. She said that she and her husband had to teach him to put his arms out to stop himself when he falls, and he regularly picks at his fingers and body, causing injury.

According to Osanna, Roman also once ate scalding mashed potatoes, too hot for anyone else to eat, without complaint.

During an interview, Angel Gabriel said Roman’s discipline includes time-outs, removal of clothing, spankings, taking away certain items, denying food and placing toilet paper rolls on his hands. Angel Gabriel added that Roman is often placed in the closet and the bathtub to serve his time-outs.

Angel Gabriel also reported that Roman had received many cuts that “hurt a lot” on his head, including a cut on his chin that he received from his mother’s ring when she “pretend punched him,” according to a report. Additionally, Angel Gabriel said that his father sometimes flicks Roman on the cheek to get him to stop crying.

Angel Bravo told detectives that Roman is a “difficult child who does not do as he is told” and that any discipline Osanna gives him is justified.

During the course of the investigation, detectives interviewed a teacher at La Petite Academy, where Roman attends but had been absent from recently. She described Roman as a “polite, nice” child with no history of disciplinary problems, according to a report.

Both parents were taken into custody, because although Roman was in Osanna’s care during the most recent incident, a “pattern of abuse has been documented” and Angel Bravo has “a duty to protect Roman,” officials said.

After Miranda warnings, Osanna Bravo said to detectives that she was the sole responsible party for her son’s injuries, and added that she had been the victim of similar abuse at the hand of her own mother.


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