AP NEWS

Affidavit: Suspect punched, kicked children, instructed them to hide abuse

March 16, 2019

A man arrested Thursday is accused of abusing two young male relatives for several years and coaching them before they were interviewed by Child Protective Services.

Anthony Xavier Ponce, 33, is charged with two counts of injury to a child, one of which is labeled serious bodily injury. His bail totals $70,000.

The mother of the children, ages 9 and 12, initially noticed scratches and a bruise to the youngest boy’s face in February. The boy told his mother that he was injured at school.

But when the mother asked school officials what occurred, they said they did not know of any incident involving the boy, the affidavit states.

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On Feb. 25, a CPS investigator questioned the boys in front of Ponce and their mother. Both children denied any abuse, authorities said.

After the investigator left, both children called their mother into their bedroom and began outlining years-long physical abuse, allegedly by Ponce, according to the affidavit.

The children said that Ponce had coached them about what to say to the CPS investigator, and that they were afraid to talk to anyone about the abuse out of fear that Ponce would hurt or kill them.

Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the home and interviewed the children that same day.

The children said that Ponce hit them on the head with a hammer, would beat them with extension cords or charging cables, and even punched and kicked them in the stomach, according to the affidavit.

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In April 2018, the older boy told authorities that Ponce became angry and struck him with a metal pole, causing his head to swell.

Ponce saw the injury and got scared, giving the boy ice to prevent swelling and telling him to avoid his mother, according to the affidavit.

The mother later noticed the injury and took him to the hospital to be evaluated, the boy told investigators.

In a separate incident, one child said that Ponce allegedly ordered the youngest boy to disrobe in the cold weather and lay down on wet grass while being trampled and scratched by dogs.

He then sprayed water into the boy’s face, preventing him from breathing, the affidavit states.

During an exam at an area hospital, the 9-year-old boy was found to have multiple hyper-pigmented scars.

The 12-year-old boy was found to have similar scars on his head, as well as pink round scar-like areas without hair growth and chipped teeth.

Hospital investigators noted that there was substantial evidence for physical abuse.