Report raises questions of whether mom choked boy
- Article by: PAUL ELIAS
- Associated Press
- May 28, 2014 - 4:15 PM
SAN FRANCISCO — The Northern California case of a mother accused of grabbing the throat of a 12-year-old boy she suspected of bullying her daughter took another turn Wednesday with the release of a private investigator's report suggesting the boy choked himself.
The seven-page report prepared by a private investigator hired by the mother's lawyer quotes a 10-year-old saying he saw the boy put both hands around his own neck after a lunchtime encounter at a Santa Rosa, California elementary school with Delia Garcia-Bratcher, 30, on May 16.
The mother of six was arrested later that day on suspicion of child abuse and was released from jail after posting $30,000 bail.
The mother's lawyer, Dan Adams, said he gave the report to the Sonoma County district attorney's office, which is still deciding whether to charge Garcia-Bratcher. Adams said Garcia-Bratcher never touched the boy and only admonished him for allegedly bullying her daughter.
Assistant District Attorney Christine Cook acknowledged receiving the report and urged any other witnesses to contact the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, which is investigating an incident that has garnered international attention.
Cook declined further comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
Sonoma County Sheriff's Department Lt. Steve Brown said investigators talked to at least two other students who said they saw Garcia-Bratcher grab the 12-year-old by the throat.
"She wouldn't have been arrested otherwise," Brown said.
Brown said there were no adult witnesses.
"We are dealing with 11-and 12-year-old boys," Brown said.
The mother's attorney said she is now home-schooling the two children of hers who attended Olivet Elementary Charter School.
"She is upset with all the attention and her arrest and her need to post bail and hire an attorney," Adams said. "This whole thing is a nightmare for her."
Garcia-Bratcher is scheduled to appear in court on June 19 and Adams hopes the district attorney will decide on whether to file a felony child-abuse charge by then.
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