ELKINS - A Dailey woman entered a guilty plea to child neglect charges in Randolph County Circuit Court Friday, two days after her domestic partner pleaded guilty to child abuse.
Lorena Garcia, 31, of Dailey, pleaded guilty to one count of child neglect resulting in bodily injury and is facing one to three years in a state penitentiary or up to one year in the Randolph County Jail. She will remain in custody pending sentencing, which is scheduled for May 6.
Garcia's partner, Raymond James Kale Jr., 27, entered a guilty plea Wednesday to one count of child abuse resulting in bodily injury on Wednesday. Kale had been accused of beating his 9-year-old step-son and 7-year-old step-daughter - Garcia's children - in a May 2013 incident.
When asked Friday by Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong to explain what she had done, Garcia said she had failed to protect her children from Kale and allowed Kale to hit them. She also said she was aware the abuse had occurred. Garcia said she believed the reason why Kale hit the children was he "had only meant correction, even if it wasn't proper."
"Do you think it was excessive?" Wilfong asked.
"Yes." Garcia replied.
"Is it fair to say that before May 2013 (when the incident was reported) Kale was disciplining the children in a way that you felt was excessive?" Wilfong asked.
"I would say a couple of times," Garcia answered.
According to the criminal complaint, the boy reportedly told police that Kale had struck him with a metal pipe and a belt about 80 times and threw the pipe at him at one point, leaving a circular bruise with broken skin. The boy allegedly said Kale initially struck him about 10 times with the pipe, and then the boy tried to run away, but his mother, Garcia, grabbed him and held him. Kale then hit him with the pipe about 70 more times, the complaint states.
The girl also said Kale also struck her and that she received about 100 "whacks" from the metal pipe.
Within hours, police obtained a search warrant for the home of Kale and Garcia, where they found a black metal pipe about one inch in diameter and about two feet long "that was an extra piece to a shower organizer," according to the complaint.