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Police Shocked by Calif. Abuse Case

November 15, 2006

MODESTO, Calif. (AP) _ A father and stepmother were charged Tuesday with beating the man’s 3-year-old daughter nearly to death in what police are calling one of the worst child abuse cases they’ve seen.

Terry Indula, 26, and Chandy Indula, 27, were arrested Sunday, one day after they called paramedics because the girl had stopped breathing.

They pleaded not guilty in Stanislaus County Superior Court to three felony counts including mayhem, inflicting injury upon a child and permitting a child to suffer under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death, prosecutor John Mayne said.

``I’ve seen a lot of child abuse cases where the child is abused in (one) certain way,″ Modesto police Detective Eric Jones said. ``You couldn’t find much space on her body that wasn’t bruised or scarred or had some kind of obvious injury.″

The girl is on life support at an Oakland hospital and may have permanent brain damage. If she dies, the Indulas could be charged with murder, Sgt. Ed Steele said.

Police said the child’s body is covered in wounds and cuts that could have been caused by lashings from an electrical cord or other weapon. They said her body temperature was 79 degrees when paramedics took her from her home.

The Indulas told police the girl was already injured when her biological mother, Valerie Sanchez, 27, left her at the couple’s home two weeks ago, investigators said. Police said Sanchez is ``absolutely not″ a suspect.

Chandy Indula was being held Tuesday in lieu of $250,000 bail in the county’s Public Safety Center. Terry Indula was being held at the Stanislaus County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

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