San Antonio police make arrest in third fatal child abuse case this month

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SAN ANTONIO – The father and stepmother of a child have been arrested in connection with the death of their 4-year-old son in August 2021, police say.

Miranda Casarez was picked up by Jourdanton police and Brandon Cervera surrendered to SAPD on Thursday.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office said the child, Benjamin Cervera, died of starvation. Court documents say there is a video taken by his parents showing the toddler being forced to drink hand sanitizer and then crying and waving his hands saying his mouth was burning.

Another video shows he was forced to eat crumbs off the bathroom floor.

A Child Protective Services spokesperson said the agency had been in contact with the family. The toddler’s siblings are currently under their watch.

Child abuse prevention and education advocate and investigator Carrie Wilcoxson is highly critical of the state system. She says the community needs to put pressure on the CPS to do better for the children.

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“What we need to do is we really need to improve the skills in triaging cases that don’t need to be in the system so that a state investigator has the time and the resources. needed to go spend and focus on cases like this,” she said.

She urged state and local lawmakers to get ahead of the problem of child abuse by calling for more funding for education and prevention.

Wilcoxson says, “We’re number one in the nation for increasing child death rates.”

She strongly urges anyone who suspects a child is being abused to call 9-1-1 and report it to an agency that has the training and urgency to reach the child faster and possibly rescue them.

Wilcoxson calls on the hundreds of churches and religious organizations in the Bexar County area to stand up for abused children.

“We really need our religious leaders to talk about this. Our families are hungry for a moral compass,” Wilcoxson said.

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