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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 7/25/2016 

 PCSO Detectives Arrest Four Adults for Use of Stun Gun on Kids 


On Thursday, July 21, 2016, PCSO Special Victims Detectives arrested two adult male suspects and two adult female suspects for aggravated child abuse, negligent child abuse, failure to report child abuse, and other charges, after investigation revealed that the suspects were using a stun gun on children they had access to, as discipline. The stun gun left bruises and burn marks on the victims. All four adults live in the same home in Lakeland. The two males are dating the two females.

ARRESTED WERE:



  • 22-year-old Eduardo Vazquez, charged with:
    • 9 counts Contributing to Delinquency of a Minor (M-1)
    • 7 counts Aggravated Child Abuse (F-1)
    • 1 count Tampering with Evidence (F-3)
    • 2 counts Giving False Info to LEO (M-1)
    • Being held on $475,000 bond
  • 22-year-old William Torres-Morales, charged with:
    • 9 counts Contributing to Delinquency of a Minor (M-1)
    • 7 counts Aggravated Child Abuse (F-1)
    • 1 count Tampering with Evidence (F-3)
    • 2 counts Giving False Info to LEO (M-1)
    • Being held on $455,000 bond
  • 33-year-old Elizabeth Tarvin, who is Eduardo's girlfriend, charged with:
    • 9 counts Contributing to Delinquency of a Minor (M-1)
    • 9 counts Negligent Child Abuse (F-3)
    • 7 counts Failure to Report Child Abuse (F-3)
    • 2 counts Giving False Info to LEO (M-1)
    • Being held on $544,000 bond
  • 32-year-old Veronica Sanchez, who is William's girlfriend, charged with:
    • 9 counts Contributing to Delinquency of a Minor (M-1)
    • 9 counts Negligent Child Abuse (F-3)
    • 7 counts Failure to Report Child Abuse (F-3)
    • 1 count Giving False Info to LEO (M-1)
    • Being held on $62,000 bond

 

The following is an excerpt from the affidavits, and is self-explanatory. Per Florida State Statute 119, any identifying information about victims of child abuse is confidential and exempt from public record: 


In mid-July 2016, PCSO received a DCF referral in reference to allegations of child abuse. The allegation was that minor children (a total of nine children between the ages of 7 years old to 13 years old) were possibly being discipline by their guardians with a handheld stun gun device. Elizabeth Tarvin was living in the residence with her boyfriend, Eduardo Vasquez REDACTED. Veronica Sanchez was living in the residence with her boyfriend, William Torres REDACTED.

Two of the children, REDACTED (11 yr old) and REDACTED (8 yr old) were removed from the home by DCF because of the allegations. REDACTED and REDACTED were observed to have "patterned bruises and burns." There were also multiple "two-prong" burns over both children's buttocks.

On 07/21/2016 a medical examination was conducted on both REDACTED and REDACTED at the Child Advocacy Center in Bartow, by Angie Wimmer, ARNP. Based upon the examination and the children's injuries the impression was of physical abuse. REDACTED was discovered to have "fifteen two-prong burns over his buttocks, that were consistent with a stun gun / Taser injury." REDACTED was discovered at least "ten two-prong burns over his buttocks that were consistent with a stun gun / Taser injury."

On July 21, 2016, PCSO Special Victims Unit detectives responded to REDACTED. Contact was made with both REDACTED and his brother REDACTED. Both juveniles stated they have been "tased" several time in the past by Eduardo Vasquez and William Torres. Both juveniles advised Elizabeth Tarvin has never harmed them but she knows they were being "tased" and never tried to stop it. Both juveniles advised Eduardo Vasquez and William Torres has "tased" the other children as well.  

Detectives responded to REDACTED. Upon arrival they made contact with Elizabeth Tarvin, who originally denied the allegation that any children were being "tased." When asked how the children were injured she advised she did not know and it must have happened somewhere else.

Detectives made contact with the other listed suspects, Eduardo Vasquez, William Torres and Veronica Sanchez. Permission was obtained from Veronica Sanchez to check children for injuries. Detectives located the same "two-prong" marks on five additional children that were consistent with REDACTED and REDACTED's (original victims) injuries. REDACTED (13 yr old) had the marks on his right buttock. REDACTED (12 yr old) had the marks on his left buttock and left leg. REDACTED (12 yr old) had the marks on his left buttock and left leg. REDACTED (10 yr old) had the marks on his left buttock. REDACTED (7 yr old) had the marks both of her buttocks. REDACTED (2 yr old) had no visible marks.

During the investigation Detectives made contact with William Torres, who originally stated he had lied to D/S Roman (original responding patrol deputy) and that he had a Taser and the kids had gotten a hold of it and were using it on each other. William Torres advised the had thrown the Taser away after the kids had gotten a hold of it.

William Torres, then advised that he had lied and that Eduardo Vasquez has been using the Taser for the last two to three weeks to discipline the children. William Torres advised he has seen Eduardo Vasquez use the Taser only on the male children. William Torres advised he has never used the Taser on any of the children and that he threw the Taser away so Eduardo Vasquez could not use it anymore.

Post-Miranda, William Torres advised he had lied again that he has also used the Taser on the children. William Torres admitted to using the Taser as a tool for discipline. William Torres advised he has used the Taser on the children only after being pressured by Eduardo Vasquez. William Torres advised on 07/16/2016 he and Eduardo Vasquez, were making all the male children do pushups and every time one of the children could not do one, they would use the Taser on the child. William Torres advised before D/S Roman responded to the scene, Eduardo Vasquez and him hid the Taser under a vacant residence across the street. William Torres advised both Veronica Sanchez and Elizabeth Tarvin were aware that they used the Taser on the children.

During an interview with Eduardo Vasquez he initially advised that he did not use a Taser on anyone. He then later admitted to using the Taser on only the male children and stated that William Torres had used the Taser on REDACTED. Eduardo Vasquez stated that the children needed to be disciplined and that he used the Taser when they acted out.

Post-Miranda, Eduardo Vasquez stated that 07/16/2016 he and William Torres, were making all the male children do pushups and every time one of the children could not do one they would use the Taser on the child. 
 

Eduardo Vasquez stated he used the Taser on each child multiple times. Eduardo Vasquez advised he "tased" REDACTED (11 yr old) six times, REDACTED (8 yr old) five times, REDACTED (13 yr old) three times, REDACTED (12 yr old) four times, REDACTED (12 yr old) four times, and REDACTED (10 yr old) two times.  

William Torres tased REDACTED (11 yr old) three times, REDACTED (8 yr old) two times, REDACTED (13 yr old) one time, REDACTED (12 yr old) four times, and REDACTED (12 yr old) two times. Eduardo Vasquez advised he assisted William Torres with hiding the Taser under the vacant residence.

During a Post-Miranda interview with both Veronica Sanchez and Elizabeth Tarvin, they both advised they were aware that William Torres and Eduardo Vasquez have been using the Taser on the children, Elizabeth Tarvin stated she did not try to stop it or advise anyone because she was scared of losing Eduardo Vasquez. Veronica Sanchez stated she let William Torres use the Taser on the children to discipline them. Veronica Sanchez stated she did not want Eduardo Vasquez to use it, but she never told him to stop and never tried to stop him. Veronica Sanchez advised she never reported the incident because she was afraid the children would get taken away.

Based upon PCSO investigation, the physical injuries to the children, and the suspects' interviews, probable cause exists that following suspects committed the following crimes: 

I find probable cause that Eduardo Vasquez committed the criminal act of aggravated child abuse by knowing and willfully using a Taser / stun gun on the children. Eduardo Vasquez used the Taser / stun gun to willfully and intentionally inflict physical pain on the children. I also find probable cause that Eduardo Vasquez committed the criminal act of Tampering with physical evidence by willfully and intentionally hiding the Taser with the intent to impede the investigation. Eduardo Vasquez also committed the criminal act of providing false information to a law enforcement officer during a felony investigation, by willfully and intentionally lying to D/S Roman and myself. I also find probable cause that Eduardo Vasquez committed the criminal act of contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a child. Eduardo Vasquez acts were such that he caused all the listed children to be removed from the home and become children in need of services.

I find probable cause that William Torres committed the criminal act of aggravated child abuse by knowing and willfully using a Taser / stun gun on the children. William Torres used the Taser / stun gun to willfully and intentionally inflict physical pain on the children. I also find probable cause that William Torres committed the criminal act of Tampering with physical evidence by willfully and intentionally hiding the Taser with the intent to impede the investigation. William Torres also committed the criminal act of providing false information to a law enforcement officer during a felony investigation, by willfully and intentionally lying to D/S Roman and myself. I also find probable cause that William Torres committed the criminal act of contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a child. William Torres acts were such that he caused all the listed children to be removed from the home and become children in need of services.

I find probable cause that Elizabeth Tarvin committed the criminal act of negligent child abuse, by knowing that the children were being abused by William Torres and Eduardo Vasquez and failing to make a reasonable effort to protect the children from the abuse of Eduardo Vasquez and William Torres. I also find probable cause that Elizabeth Tarvin committed the criminal act of fail to report child abuse, by knowing that the children were being abused by Eduardo Vasquez and William Torres and willfully failing to do anything or report the abuse to anyone. Elizabeth Tarvin also committed the criminal act of providing false information to a law enforcement officer during a felony investigation, by willfully and intentionally lying to D/S Roman and myself. I also find probable cause that Elizabeth Tarvin committed the criminal act of contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a child by allowing the children to be abused and failing to report their ongoing abuse which caused all the listed children to be removed from the home and become children in need of services.

I find probable cause that Veronica Sanchez committed the criminal act of negligent child abuse, by knowing that the children were being abused by William Torres and Eduardo Vasquez and failing to make a reasonable effort to protect the  children from the abuse of Eduardo Vasquez and William Torres. I also find probable cause that Veronica Sanchez committed the criminal act of fail to report child abuse, by knowing that the children were being abused by Eduardo Vasquez and William Torres and willfully failing to do anything or report the abuse to anyone. Veronica Sanchez also committed the criminal act of providing false information to a law enforcement officer during a felony investigation, by willfully and intentionally lying to D/S Roman. I also find probable cause that Veronica Sanchez committed the criminal act of contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a child by allowing the children to be abused and failing to report their ongoing abuse which caused all the listed children to be removed from their home and become children in need of services.

All the suspects were arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail.
 

*the device used on the children has not been found; Taser is a trademark name of a specific stun gun device, and it is not clear whether the device used was the Taser brand. 

Eduardo Vazquez's previous interactions with law enforcement include arrests for Possession of Cocaine, Marijuana, and Drug Paraphernalia, Grand Theft of a Firearm, Unsafe Storage of Firearm, and No Valid DL. 

Veronica Sanchez's previous interactions with law enforcement include arrests for DWLSR.