WASHINGTON - Ana Barrett's 4-year-old daughter, Dalilah, was the victim of serious physical abuse. According to police, the girl went to the hospital in critical condition for severe injuries, including bruises to her face, head, chest, back and collarbone. She also suffered a severe laceration to her liver which caused significant internal bleeding.
But her mother said she didn't find out until the story was on the news and on social media.
"I woke up Saturday morning to my news feed on Facebook and saw her father's girlfriend's face," said Barrett. "I just panicked and I freaked out, started screaming and crying."
Montgomery County police arrested the child's stepmother, Aldercy Lugo-De Fuentes. The 30-year-old is facing child abuse and assault charges.
Dalilah's mother said the girl's father has custody, but she has visitations and also has custody of her three other children. She admits she had grown suspicious something was wrong with her 4-year-old who lives with her father and stepmother.
"I guess once he met her and she came into the picture, my visits with my daughter ceased to exist," said Barrett. "She lost a lot of weight and no child should drop weight that quick. And it's insane. I asked them why did she lose weight so quickly and they said they changed her diet."
Barrett said she has been in contact with Child Protective Services since she learned about the alleged abuse. But she has not seen her daughter since December.
"The last time I saw her, she ran to me, so that was a good thing," she said. "Like that really hit home with me. But given the fact that I haven't seen her in so long, I don't know how she would react to me."
Barrett said she was told by CPS her daughter is doing better, out of the hospital and in their custody.