Merced man found guilty on child abuse charges

On Friday, January 4, 2019, a Merced County jury found Matthew Ernest Flores, a 28-year-old man from Merced, guilty of child abuse likely to cause great bodily harm or death on a child along with a special allegation that the defendant personally inflicted great bodily injury on a child.

The jury also found the defendant guilty of misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor child abuse of on a second child victim.

On September 17, 2017, emergency responders went to the defendant’s home in Merced for a call of an unresponsive child. Emergency personnel flew the child (age 5) in a helicopter to Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, California.

Doctors performed emergency brain surgery on the child to remove a brain bleed from her skull. The child had bruising on her face, head, back, and buttocks. Her brother (age 7) also had bruising on his chest and abdomen. The defendant was alone with the children while their mother was at work. The 7-year-old child revealed during his interview that the defendant had been abusing both children.

“The jury thoughtfully and diligently listened to the evidence and deliberated on their verdicts,” said Deputy District Attorney Sara Rosenthal, who prosecuted the case. “I appreciate the time and work they put into this case. It’s a miracle the 5- year-old child has made a full physical recovery.

The victims and their father can now move forward rebuilding their lives. The outcome of this case could not have happened without the hard work of Merced County Sheriff’s Department and the medical professionals who treated the child including Riggs Ambulance, CalFire, and the amazing team at Valley Children’s Hospital.”

The defendant has prior felony and misdemeanor convictions for unrelated offenses. The sentencing is set for January 25, 2019. The defendant faces up to 9 years in prison.

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