A 27-year-old woman from Tempe, Ariz. described as a “caretaker” by local media was arrested on May 18 and booked on one count of child abuse - domestic violence after a three-year-old girl under her care went home and told her mother that the woman forced her to eat her own feces as punishment for having an accident in the bathtub. The caretaker, Nicole Candelaria, is the girlfriend of the little girl’s father.
KPHO in Arizona reported that Candelaria was watching the little girl and the little girl’s three-year and five-year-old siblings while the children were staying at her and her father’s place for a six day stay. Candelaria was responsible for watching the three children while their dad was at work.
Court documents revealed that when the young victim returned to her mother’s home on Friday, she informed her mother that she defecated in Candelaria’s bathtub. Reportedly, Candelaria got angry at the little girl, forced her to eat the excrement, and then forcibly held the child down on the toilet. The young victim’s siblings corroborated their sister’s story and also said that Candelaria forced the little girl to eat her excrement.
The child was taken to the hospital Saturday morning for an examination. While there, medical personnel discovered “significant injuries to the girl's private parts,” according to court documents. Bruising was also evident across the child’s body, primarily on her chest, back, sides and legs.
While at the hospital, according to ABC News, the little girl told the medical team that Candelaria also put soap in her mouth while she was being forcibly held down on the toilet. Court documents also stated that the bruising on the little girl’s side “was consistent with being held down.”
Following Candelaria’s arrest, the caretaker told police that she often looks after the kids while their father is working, and that the little girl “lies often.” Candelaria also told the cops that the injury to the little girl’s back was sustained when the two were playing together. Candelaria said she playfully hit the child too hard.
Candelaria told police that she gave all the kids baths on Friday, “but denied injuring the victim.” The caretaker ended up in Tempe City Jail on Saturday where she was booked on that one count of child abuse - domestic violence. She is now free on bond and will be making a court appearance on May 23.