TEMPE, Ariz. — A Tempe woman was arrested Saturday on suspicion she forced a 3-year-old girl under her care to eat feces as punishment, police said.
The victim said she had spent six days with her father and Nicole Candelaria, 27, his girlfriend, KPHO-TV reported.
The girl, who arrived home on Friday, told her mom she had defecated in the bathtub, according to a court document.
The girl said Candelaria became upset and forced her to eat the feces, then forcefully held her down on the toilet, court paperwork stated.
The girl’s two siblings, ages 3 and 5, also reported that Candelaria forced the victim to eat her excrement, according to the probable cause statement.
The victim was taken to a local hospital during early Saturday morning, where she was forensically examined. The medical team noted significant injuries to the girl’s private parts, the court document said.
Bruising was observed on the girl’s chest, back, sides and legs.
During her medical exam, the girl said that Candelaria held her down on the toilet seat and put soap in her mouth, according to court paperwork. The bruising on the victim’s side was consistent with being held down, the court document stated.
After her arrest, Candelaria told police the victim lies often and said the injury on the girl’s back came from when she was playing with her and she playfully hit her too hard, court paperwork said.
Candelaria told police she takes care of the three children while their father is at work.
She admitted to bathing the children on Friday but denied injuring the victim, police said.
Candelaria was booked into the Tempe City Jail on one count of child abuse – domestic violence.