Aspen mom charged with child abuse
Three Aspen police officers had to remove a baby from a mother’s arms after she refused to turn over the infant when she was being placed under arrest, according to a police affidavit.
Mayra Prada-Castro, 28, appeared Thursday in Pitkin County Court, where she waived advisement to misdemeanor charges of child abuse, harassment, resisting arrest, assault and other transgressions.
Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely issued a $5,000 personal recognizance bond for Prada-Castro, who bonded out Friday but was arrested shortly later after she went to the home of the child and his father, both of whom she was under court order to not contact. At Friday’s hearing, the judge set a $5,000 cash-only bond.
The father attended the hearing, baby in arms, telling the judge he wanted a cash-only bond.
Prada-Castro attempted to speak to the judge Friday, but her public defender, Jose Gonzalez, wouldn’t allow her.
Friday’s arrest was the fifth protection-order violation for Prada-Castro involving the father of her son. Previous orders forbade Prada-Castro from harassing, abusing, threatening or assaulting her husband.
On Thursday, the judge expanded the order so that Prada-Castro couldn’t have contact with her son or his father.
The two had shared a unit at Hunter Creek, where the 10-month-old baby lives.
According to an arrest affidavit written by Aspen police detective Jeff Fain, police responded to the Hunter Creek unit Tuesday afternoon in response to Prada-Castro’s ex-boyfriend’s allegations that she had harassed him, scratched him and sent him a video text message showing their son on the couch crying, with the words, “This is what I am doing to your baby,” the affidavit says.
In a discussion outside the apartment unit, Prada-Castro denied any wrongdoing or abusing the baby when Fain asked her about it, the affidavit says. But Fain also had video footage, taken by the father on his phone, of Prada-Castro striking his hand and knocking out the phone.
“As I had a recorded event of domestic violence on video and obvious injuries to (the father), eventually I informed Prada-Castro that she was under arrest and she stated that she was not going to come with me and walked inside,” Fain wrote.
Fain followed Prada-Castro inside her apartment where the conversation ensued, before “she suddenly bolted out the front door and ran away holding (the baby),” the affidavit says.
Prada-Castro continued running and hid behind a car, where another police officer found her.
Fain then convinced the woman to return to the apartment, but she refused to turn over the baby despite the officer’s demands, Fain wrote. While in the kitchen, Prada-Castro consumed five to 12 Prozac pills, Fain wrote.
“At that point, as Prada-Castro had been uncooperative, had been running away from the police with a baby in her hands, and had now taken an unknown amount of a possible controlled substance, I made the decision to forcefully place her under arrest,” Fain’s affidavit says. “Assistant Chief Bill Linn, who had arrived on scene by this time, assisted (officer Brian) Stevens and I in removing the baby from her arms and I placed handcuffs on her.”
At Friday’s hearing, prosecutor Michael Warren said the child’s father is “very concerned about her mental health.”
“We may need to be asking if the defendant is competent to understand what’s happening right now,” he said.
Gonzalez said it’s too early to make that call.
“I wouldn’t be able to make that determination one way or another now,” he said.
The judge said Prada-Castro will be required to have a mental-health evaluation before she’s released from Pitkin County Jail.
Prada-Castro is due back in court Tuesday.
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Despite nearly a month of intense investigation by two APD detectives, two investigators with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and help from an FBI agent in Glenwood Springs, the case is progressing slowly.