[h1]Officials want answers in case of man 'eating' boy's eyes[/h1]
May 20, 10:43 PM
Kern County supervisors on Tuesday demanded that child protective services officials explain what happened in the case of a father accused of biting out the eyes of his 4-year-old son.
Angelo Mendoza, 34, faces four felony charges in the vicious attack on his son Angelo Mendoza Jr. on April 28.
Doctors have said that the child's left eye and muscle are gone, and his right eye is damaged beyond repair after "this evil person," as one supervisor called Mendoza, left the boy naked in a pool of blood to be discovered by neighbors.
Mendoza, who has used a wheelchair since being stabbed in the spine in 2004, has been involved in 22 criminal cases in Kern County, officials said.
In 2006, both Mendoza and the boy's mother pleaded no contest to willful cruelty to a child after being found under the influence of drugs.
On the day of the attack, Mendoza had apparently used PCP, but was left in charge of the boy nonetheless. After neighbors found the child, Mendoza was discovered in a vacant lot, chopping at his legs with an ax.
According to police reports, the child told officers, "My daddy ate my eyes," and, "Daddy bit my eyes and hands."
On Tuesday, county supervisors were briefed by child services director Pat Cheadle, who seemed clueless as to why the child was still in the care of his parents, despite their criminal history.
"This is an example of one of those horrible, horrible tragic situations that happen," Cheadle told the supervisors. "And certainly we wish there was an explanation for it at this time."
Supervisor Ray Watson wasn't satisfied with that answer. "I think the public is terribly frustrated that they're not able to have access to the issues that led up to this horrible tragedy," he said.
Supervisors pressed Cheadle to determine if information in the case could be made public under a new state law that allows release of information when a child dies or nearly dies.
"This evil person who did this act, if they were not interrupted, could we define it as 'near fatality' to show that to the public -- at least that we do have the checks and balances and the ombudsman who's evaluating it, and the investigation, so that we can be open, transparent and accountable to the public?" Supervisor Michael Rubio asked.
Mendoza was slated to be in Kern County Superior Court on Wednesday morning, but that was delayed because of his medical condition. Mendoza was listed in fair condition at Kern Medical Center.
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