After prosecutors determined evidence did not show children of a married couple from San Mateo were exposed to great bodily injury under their care, the felony charges of child endangerment filed against them were dismissed and they were charged with misdemeanor child endangerment Thursday, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.
Juan Manuel Hernandez, 33, and Bianca Noemi Medina, 26, are now facing county jail time instead of state prison terms on accusations they beat their three children and were not properly feeding them, according to prosecutors.
A neighbor concerned about child abuse reported Hernandez and Medina on Aug. 17, telling investigators that they overheard one person stating that the other had hit a child too hard and almost knocked him out.
When police arrived at their apartment on the 400 block of North San Mateo Drive, police found three children living in squalid conditions, including a 5-year-old child with a 1-inch cut to the face and a golf ball-sized lump on the head.
Investigators determined that the child had been beaten, and a belt had been used. There was no running water or edible food in the apartment, which smelled like urine and rotting food. The children were removed by Child Protective Services, prosecutors said.
Though the couple previously pleaded no contest to their felony charges in November, they withdrew their pleas in May after a judge ruled the couple had not received accurate advice about the immigration consequences of their pleas from their defense counsel. Their court proceedings were reinstated under new attorneys, and both Hernandez and Medina are out of custody on $150,000 bail, according to prosecutors.