Because her ex-boyfriend is now considered the actual perpetrator in the case, sentencing was postponed today for a Riverside woman whose 2-year-old son suffered severe burns when he was left in a tub full of hot water.
Christina Lorraine Montes, 29, pleaded guilty Nov. 1 to child abuse, for which she could be sentenced to anywhere from two to six years behind bars. She had been charged with torture, inflicting corporal injury on a child and child endangerment, along with great bodily injury allegations, in connection with the March 2011 physical impairment of her son.
However, Riverside County prosecutors agreed to drop most of the felony counts after an investigation revealed Montes' former boyfriend, convicted felon Anthony Rene Armstrong, was the one who allegedly inflicted the injuries on the boy.
Armstrong was recently extradited from Arizona to face charges of torture, willful injury to a minor, child abuse and great bodily injury allegations. He's expected to be tried later this year and could face life in prison if convicted.
Montes will testify for the prosecution in the case. Deputy District Attorney Amy Barajas told City News Service the woman will not be sentenced until after Armstrong's trial concludes.
Montes is free on bail. Armstong, 28, is being held in lieu $1 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to testimony from Montes' preliminary hearing last year, the defendant was living in a motel room with her 2- and 10-year-old sons at the time of the child's injuries. Armstrong, who was on parole at the time, also stayed at the location periodically, investigators said.
The 2-year-old's injuries were discovered by a family member, who told Riverside police.
Child welfare workers took custody of the youngster and had him undergo an examination at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Doctors there found evidence of recent scarring from second- and third-degree burns on the boy's buttocks, groin, stomach, arms and left thigh, where most of the damage was concentrated, according to testimony.
Montes told investigators that the burns had occurred accidentally.
The defendant indicated she was asleep and was awakened by her youngest son crying in the middle of the night because he had wet his bed and had an attack of diarrhea.
Montes told police that she filled a bathtub full of water to wash the toddler, placed him in it and left to replace his bed sheets. The defendant said that while she was tending to the bed, the child began yelling for her, and she rushed back to find him outside of the tub with red blotches on his skin, according to testimony.
He's now in the care of relatives.
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