CENTER, TX (KTRE) - Officers with the Center Police Department arrested an 18-year-old man on March 24 in connection to allegations that he and his younger brother, who is a juvenile, burned their mentally challenged 12-year-old sister with hot sticks that had been put in a fire.
The 18-year-old and his brother are also accused of engaging in organized criminal activity by recruiting gang members at a Center ISD campus, according to an arrest affidavit.
Crecensian Garcia is still being held in the Shelby County Jail on a first-degree felony engaging in organized criminal activity charge, a second-degree felony aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury charge, and a third-degree felony injury to a child/disabled person charge. Collectively, his bail amount has been set at $110,000.
According to the arrest affidavit, a Center PD detective was contacted by the resource officer at Center Middle School on March 20, who told him that a 12-year-old special needs student had come to school with signs of physical abuse. CPD detectives met with the resource officer and school officials, who said that the girl had come to school wearing long-sleeved attire all year.
The girl's teacher explained his student is a special needs student whose IQ is in the range of a kindergartner instead of a 12-year-old, the affidavit stated. The teacher said on March 20, he had his students do some physical activity, and he told the girl to take her jacket off because it was hot.
At that point, the teacher noticed circular burn marks on the girl's arms, the affidavit stated. The teacher also said that the school district had filed previous reports with Child Protective Services regarding the child's cleanliness and personal hygiene.
According to the affidavit, the most previous report the school district made to CPS was that the girl had lice to the extent that the school nurse could not see the child's scalp.
The teacher told the law enforcement officers that school districts staff made several attempts to contact the girl's parents to offer help. However, the girl's father would not speak to Center ISD employees when they came to his home, nor would he let anyone else in the home speak to them, the affidavit stated.
The school officials also told police that Garcia and his younger brother had been placed in AEP because of alleged gang-related activities on campus. Garcia and his younger brother were allegedly recruiting for a gang on campus.
Later that day, the victim was taken to the Shelby County Child Advocacy Center, where a forensic interview was conducted with the girl.
During the interview, the girl said that Garcia and her younger brother "are in a gang and do bad things," the affidavit said. She also allegedly said that Garcia, her younger brother held her down while juvenile neighbors and fellow gang members prodded her with what the girl called "a hot stick" that had been in the fire, causing several burns to her left arm, left hand, and left leg.
"She also stated that her brothers took turns burning her with the stick as well," the affidavit stated,
The affidavit stated that the Center PD detectives tried to contact the girl's parents on several occasions, but they had no luck.
The Center Middle School resource officer contacted the Center PD detectives again on March 22. The resource officer said the girl came to school that morning acting very scared and crying, the affidavit stated. She allegedly told the resource officer that her brothers had been slapping her in the head that morning.
Later, the girl was taken to Harolds House in Lufkin for a SANE exam. The SANE nurse told authorities that the girl had hygiene issues and that during the exam, the child said, "My brother burned my arm when he made fire last week."