A Tempe woman is accused of making her boyfriend's 3-year-old daughter eat her own feces as punishment.
Nicole Candelaria, 28, denied the claim, but the girl's two siblings corroborated the story to police, according to court documents obtained by New Times.
After spending six days with Candelaria and their father, the children were brought back to their mother's place on Friday, when the 3-year-old girl complained to her mother that Candelaria made her eat her feces as punishment for defecating in the bath tub.
The girl was hospitalized for examination, which revealed several injuries on her body, including bruising and swelling, according to the documents.
In an interview with investigators, the girl repeated what she'd told her mother about being forced to eat feces, and also said that Candelaria forcibly held her down on the toilet and put soap in her mouth, court documents state.
Some of the bruising on the girl's body was consistent with being held down, according to the documents.
Candelaria denied all of the claims, saying that the girl "lies often." She explained one of her injuries was sustained by playfully hitting her too hard, but denied the allegations about the feces, or forcing the girl down on the toilet.
Candelaria was in charge of watching the children while the kids' father was at work. The father told police that he saw the injuries to his daughter's back, and said he didn't believe Candelaria's story of what happened. Additionally, according to the court documents, a neighbor in the Tempe apartment complex reported to police "often hearing Candelaria screaming and slapping her boyfriend."
Police arrested Candelaria on a felony charge of child abuse. Her bond was set at $5,400.
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