ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said Friday that it arrested a man after conducting an extensive child abuse investigation.
On Friday, the Sheriff’s Office said Juan Vazquez was charged with aggravated child abuse and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, on Nov. 16, 2021, deputies responded to a call about an unresponsive 3-year-old child in a home on Richie Drive. Authorities said the child was transported to Flagler Hospital and then to Wolfson Children’s Hospital for further treatment.
The child suffered injuries including bruising and swelling on both eyelids and eyebrows, the upper left side of the face and neck, a news release stated.
Detectives said the residence was in deplorable condition, and narcotics, a stolen firearm and ammunition were collected as evidence.
Detectives interviewed the child’s father, Juan Rivera-Vazquez, and his girlfriend. According to authorities, their statements were inconsistent.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Rivera-Vazquez is a convicted felon with previous convictions for child abuse, narcotics possession and firearm-related charges.
Major Crimes Unit detectives and the University of Florida’s First Child Protection Team determined the child’s injuries were caused by “a traumatic event, due to child abuse, which subsequently stopped the child’s heart and breathing,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
The 3-year-old child remains at the Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital with a significant brain injury due to cardiac arrest, the Sheriff’s Office said. According to the news release, the child is being fed through a feeding tube and authorities believe the child will suffer developmental delays for the remainder of their life.
Rivera-Vazquez’s girlfriend was arrested on an unrelated charge of possession of a controlled substance.