A mother and her boyfriend have been arrested, accused of killing her son.
Four-year-old Noel Vargas-Diaz, of Turpin, Okla., was brought to a Liberal hospital not breathing Aug. 27. The boy's mother, Silvia Vargas, told doctors the boy fell in the bathtub and hit his neck.
Doctors said the boy's injuries were inconsistent with the mother's story, and that the boy died from long-term and severe child abuse.
Factfinder 12 obtained the arrest affidavit in the case. It showed why authorities arrested Vargas, and her boyfriend, Yazmani Rodriguez. According to the affidavit, the four-year-old boy had a large, red ligature mark on his neck and many bruises on the rest of his body. He also had what looked like cigarette burns on his legs and hands.
James Boring, Texas County District Attorney, said Vargas was at work in Liberal, when her boyfriend arrived, saying she needed to come home, because there had been an accident.
"At that point, she went home with him, determined the child was indeed possibly dead at that point," Boring said.
Authorities interviewed other children in the home, according to the affidavit. One told investigators Rodriguez would beat Noel when he would mess up potty-training, not eat his entire meal, or not put his clothes on right.
Another child told authorities Rodriguez pointed a gun at the kids and their mother, threatening to kill them if they ever left.
Rodriguez faces first-degree murder and child abuse charges. He remains jailed on $5 million bond. He is expected to be arraigned Wednesday.
Vargas is charged with enabling child abuse. Her bond is set at $500,000.
Noel's funeral Mass will be 1 p.m. Wednesday at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Liberal. Memorial contributions may be made to the Noel Vargas Diaz Memorial Fund in care of Brenneman Funeral Home, 1212 W. 2nd Liberal, KS 67901.