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Battered toddler at Tampa General Hospital while parents are in jail

TAMPA — In the pediatric intensive care unit at Tampa General Hospital, a badly beaten toddler improved from critical to serious condition.

No family members were around Monday to watch.

Her parents were still in jail and ordered by a judge to have no contact with her upon their release. Carolina Pena, 22, is accused of aggravated child abuse and child neglect, and Isidro Rosario, 26, is accused of child neglect and failing to report abuse.

In court Monday, Circuit Judge Walter Heinrich said Rosario could also, at some point, be charged as a principal in the abuse.

The judge set bail for Pena at $30,000 and Rosario at $5,000. Both remained in custody into the evening.

The 2-year-old was taken to Tampa General Hospital on Friday with blunt trauma to the pancreas, bite marks on her buttocks and thigh, two fractured ribs and a burn mark on her right knee in the shape of a fork.

The wounds, authorities say, were at various stages of healing. Her ribs had been broken for at least two weeks. The parents did not seek immediate medical care, police said.

Rosario told police the girl was in her mother's care while he worked as a welder. He said he noticed the toddler's distended stomach May 3 and a busted lip days earlier. He said the mother's explanation for the lip was that the girl had fallen off a play set.

This is Pena's first arrest in Florida. Records show Rosario was charged in 2008 with driving under the influence. Jail records list their address at the Meridian Pointe Apartments on Hillsborough Avenue. They are both natives of the Dominican Republic.

The girl now fighting for her life is shown in an online family photo album with pink bows in her hair, in the arms of a man Pena calls the grandfather, Rosario's father, in front of a Disney princess birthday cake topped with the number 2.

On the mother's MySpace.com profile, she posts photos of two other daughters, an older one and a baby.

She calls herself a "proud parent."

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Battered toddler at Tampa General Hospital while parents are in jail 05/10/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 10, 2010 9:39pm]

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