2-year-old allegedly killed by father was only recently returned to parents

Child playing with toy CPS (KXAN photo)
Child playing with toy (KXAN photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Newly obtained court documents show a 2-year-old boy who authorities say died at the hands of his father, was in foster care until just a couple of months ago.

Raymundo Silva-Salas, 23, is in jail, accused of killing his son, Logan, last week. Silva-Salas is charged with injury to a child with intent to cause serious bodily injury or serious mental deficiency.

According to documents filed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the agency stepped in to investigate allegations of physical abuse when Logan was admitted to Dell Children’s Medical Center on Sept. 30, 2015. At the time, Logan had four seizures and possible head trauma. Medical staff observed that Logan had injuries on his nose, eyelid, ears, cheek, forehead and a bleeding upper lip. During the course of the investigation, authorities determined the baby, who was only 6-months-old at the time, had suffered head trauma “caused by being vigorously shaken.”

When authorities spoke to the parents, they were unable to offer a “plausible explanation” for the child’s injuries, continued in the court document. Due to concerns for the well-being of Logan’s twin brother and the mother’s two other children (who are older), all four children were removed from the home on Oct. 1, 2015. DFPS says the two older children, a boy and a girl, were placed with their father.

The state was appointed temporary managing conservator of the twins, who were placed in a foster home.

Authorities say no one was originally charged in the 2015 case. “The case was suspended and has since been reopened, we can’t give any information since it’s open now,” said Travis County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kristen Dark.

Over the course of the next year and a half, the mother participated in many counseling sessions and other court-ordered services with the goal of getting her children back. Court records show that the children’s mother took over a dozen classes as well as therapy and a psychological evaluation. According to the court documents, the mother revealed in therapy that her eldest child was sexually abused when he was 2 years old at the hands of her youngest brother.

Silva Salas completed parenting training classes, a psychological evaluation and told DFPS that he saw a therapist.

During the time the twins were in foster care, the children are described as “healthy” and Logan was “developmentally on target despite initial medical issues.” Logan was also described as “a pleasant child who enjoys learning new things every day.”

On March 31, 2017, the state determined the twins would be allowed back with their parents “due to progress made in alleviating the problems that initially caused the children to be placed in foster care.” However, the state would continue as temporary managing conservator of the children.

Less than two months later, on May 24, 2017, Logan ended back up at the hospital where doctors determined he was “brain dead.” Logan died the following day. Court documents show the toddler had an injury to the left side of his head as well as bruises to both sides of his abdomen. Medical personnel believe his injuries were consistent with being shaken.

When detectives spoke to the father, he claimed Logan was running toward him from the kitchen and when he picked him up he noticed he was breathing hard. Silva-Salas said the child then fainted so he placed him on the couch. He initially told authorities he saw his son next to an aerosol can of flying insect killer but it was not known if he had ingested any of the spray.

Both of Logan’s parents were ordered by the court to take protective parenting sessions with the Center for Child Protection in Austin. Both parents participated in classes there, Logan’s mother completed all the sessions.

Tara Powdrill of the Center for Child Protection explained that in 2016, the center offered protective parenting services to 114 adults out of Travis County.

“We are trying to work with the parent, with the child, with siblings, really building those relationships back up,” says Powdrill of the protective parenting services. “Learning boundaries, learning communication skills, and learning for the next generation for it to not happen again.” She added that part of the goal of those services is to help parents to identify risk factors and individuals who may be unsafe for their children.

“Child abuse is an epidemic, it’s huge, there’s a lot happening,” Powdrill explained. “So the more people who are aware of what it is, how to stop it, how to report it, the better. We’re helping that many more children each year, and we’ve seen our services grow this year and it’s because more people are wanting to be protective.”

KXAN spoke with Logan’s family Wednesday, they declined to comment for this story.

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