Mom, boyfriend arrested in child abuse probe

Ashleigh Wallace

Jessie Martinez

A mother and her boyfriend are accused of causing a “constellation” of serious injuries suffered by a 4-year-old boy, now barely clinging to life, according to arrest warrant affidavits.

Jessie Martinez, 30, was charged with suspicion of felony and misdemeanor counts child abuse today at the Mesa County Jail. Martinez had been jailed locally since his arrest Jan. 22 on suspicion of violating parole. His girlfriend, Ashleigh Wallace, 28, of Grand Junction, was arrested and booked today on suspicion of felony child abuse and false reporting to authorities.

The 4-year-old victim in the case, who is Wallace’s son, was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital around 4 p.m. on Jan. 13 — this a full two days after her mother claims she first noticed the boy’s injuries, according to the affidavit. The boy was treated for a brain injury, a broken right arm “and bruising in different stages of healing on his back, torso and genitals,” the affidavit said.

The boy’s condition “hadn’t improved” since the night of Jan. 13, when doctors said the boy would be brain dead within days, the affidavit said.

Wallace initially told Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputies her son had “crashed and tumbled” during a sledding trip on the afternoon of Jan. 11. A doctor early on said Wallace’s story didn’t match her son’s injuries, which were immediately deemed “non accidental trauma.”

Two other children, a 6-year-old boy and a 3-week-old girl, were removed from the couple’s home and placed into emergency custody by deputies on the night of Jan. 13.

Wallace, on Jan. 14, changed her story on how her son got injured, claiming Martinez had accidentally hit the boy in the head with a football.

“Ms. Wallace basically said Mr. Martinez denied knowing how (boy) got the bruises,” while suggesting they were from rough housing, the affidavit said.

“Ms. Wallace confirmed she has witnessed Mr. Martinez sometimes wrestle with her boys to the point they cry,” the affidavit said.

The mother later refused a polygraph examination.

Martinez, meanwhile, initially denied knowledge of how the boy got hurt.

“Mr. Martinez ... explained he saw (boy) would not wake up Saturday, but Ms. Wallace did not take him to the hospital. He said Wallace was, “afraid authorities would take her children. Mr. Martinez and Ms. Wallace then made up a lie that (boy) was injured sledding.”

“Both Mr. Martinez and Ms. Wallace independently admitted to noticing (boy’s) change in condition on the afternoon of Jan. 11,” the affidavit said. “Both Mr. Martinez and Ms. Wallace failed to seek medical care for boy until Jan. 13.”

That delay “substantially impacted” the boy’s medical condition, the affidavit said.

Read more in Friday’s Daily Sentinel




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