Posted on May 12, 2006
Sitter beats & gags tot with tape, police say
BY NICOLE BODE, SCOTT SHIFREL and BILL HUTCHINSON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Adelina Palacios stands devastated by now-empty crib of her 13-month-old daughter Andrea (below), who is in critical condition. Baby-sitter is charged with beating the child.
A Queens baby was fighting for her life last night after being gagged with duct tape "until her eyes bulged" and being beaten into a coma by a baby-sitter, police said.
Andrea Palacios arrived at the hospital clinically dead - but was revived by doctors.
"I never thought this could happen," said a tearful Adelina Palacios, 35, as she stood next to her 13-month-old daughter's hospital bed. "My Andrea. How could she do this to her?"
Andrea remained in critical condition at Elmhurst Hospital Center. She was breathing on her own, but doctors said she suffered severe brain damage during her horrific ordeal.
"I just thought she was a good person. She's a mother too," Adelina Palacios said of the alleged abuser, Delores Guzman.
Palacios, a Mexican immigrant and a single mother of three, began subleasing a room in January from Guzman and her husband, Manuel, at 108-31 46th Ave. in Corona.
Prosecutors said Palacios left the apartment at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday to begin her first day of work selling wallpaper. Guzman, 31, agreed to baby-sit Andrea while Palacios went to work, prosecutors said.
Palacios said it was the first time she asked Guzman, who has two young sons and a 7-month-old baby of her own, to watch her daughter.
Police said Guzman kept changing her story of what happened to Andrea, initially claiming the tot accidently fell off a bed. But doctors told police Andrea's terrible injuries were not consistent with a simple fall.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Guzman eventually confessed how she went into a rage because the baby kept crying.
"There was an effort to tape the pacifier to the mouth," Brown said. "And duct tape was put over the mouth and the pacifier."
Assistant District Attorney Quynda Henry added that Guzman "duct taped the baby's nose and mouth until her eyes bulged out."
Henry said Guzman removed the tape and tried to give Andrea a bottle. When the baby refused to drink, she allegedly shook her and slammed her on the wooden floor.
When Andrea lost consciousness, Guzman called 911 in a panic, prosecutors said.
When she was rushed to the hospital, Andrea's heart wasn't beating. But doctors revived her with three shots of epinephrine, police said.
Doctors told cops the little girl's heart had stopped for about 10 minutes, long enough for her to suffer permanent brain damage.
Guzman was arraigned yesterday in Queens Criminal Court on charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a child. She was being held without bail and faces 25 years in prison if convicted.
Defense attorney Gil Santamarina said Guzman had no criminal record and had never been accused of abusing her children.
Guzman's husband, Manuel, said he was at a loss for words.
"I don't understand. We love that baby so much," Manuel Guzman said of Andrea. "She's like a part of my family."
Originally published on May 12, 2006