KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The adult son of a 47-year-old Bangor woman accused of torturing her 6-year-old daughter said his mother is “not violent” and didn’t hurt the girl.
Stephanie Yvette Arteaga was arraigned in Van Buren County District Court on two charges including torture and first-degree child abuse Friday.
“She is not an abusive person at all. She is barely a disciplinarian,” David Tyler III, Arteaga’s son, said.
Tyler said his mother never hurt him or either of his sisters.
“She’s not like that. … She doesn’t like conflict like that or anything. She’s not violent. She doesn’t have a violent bone in her body; not at all. This is not her character at all. It’s ridiculous,” Tyler said.
Police arrested Arteaga at her home on Friday.
Police said the 6-year-old girl was dropped off at a foster family home on Wednesday. The foster family noticed some injuries to the child and called Child Protective Services, police said. CPS told the family to bring the 6-year-old to the emergency room, which they did. Hospital staff called police.
“Torture? My mom is her kids. She loves all three of us,” Tyler said. “I can remember back to when we were younger and … we got caught off food stamps and my mom would use the little bit of money she had, she would make us food and she would go to bed hungry.”
Tyler said his little sister is in the process of being diagnosed with autism and that her injuries were self-inflicted.
“She sometimes — I’ve seen it, too — when she gets frustrated and she doesn’t understand things, she will bang her head against things, she will scratch herself really bad. She has pulled out her hair before, just hurt herself,” Tyler said.
He said sometimes his mom would have to strap the 6-year-old down in a high chair or stroller to keep her from hurting herself.
“Don’t just jump to conclusions,” he said. “Just because someone is being charged with something doesn’t mean they have been convicted of it.”