LAKEPORT, Calif. – Police have taken a Lakeport man and his girlfriend into custody for allegedly hitting and injuring the man's 5-year-old daughter.
Charles Anthony Dougherty, 31, and Jennifer Lynn Elsa, 32, were arrested Thursday evening, according to Lakeport Police Chief Brad Rasmussen.
At 1 p.m. Thursday Lakeport Police officers were dispatched to investigate the report of child abuse, Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen said officers met with reporting family members who advised and presented evidence that a 5-year-old female juvenile was abused while in the custody of her father and father's girlfriend at a residence in the city of Lakeport.
Officers immediately began an investigation and contacted the Lake County Department of Social Services-Child Protective Services Department, the Lake County District Attorney's Office and District Attorney Victim-Witness Program for assistance, Rasmussen said.
At approximately 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Lakeport Police officers and a Victim-Witness advocate located and interviewed the alleged victim at a residence in south Lakeport, outside of the city, according to Rasmussen's report.
Rasmussen said information obtained during the interview with the child was consistent with the original report and officers immediately ordered the victim to be taken into protective custody, under the authority of the California Welfare and Institutions Code. She was turned over to CPS for care pending the outcome of the investigation.
Rasmussen told Lake County News that the child had multiple bruises and welts, and the evidence indicated that both Dougherty and Elsa were involved in the alleged abuse.
At about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, officers located and interviewed Dougherty and Elsa, and Rasmussen said it was determined that sufficient facts existed to charge both with felony unlawful corporal punishment to a child causing injury.
Rasmussen said that officers determined that the abuse occurred on July 4 at a residence on N. Main Street in Lakeport, during the city fireworks show on Clear Lake off Library Park – which was reported to be visible from the residence.
The child was advised that she was being disciplined and could not watch the fireworks show, Rasmussen said. However, while the suspects were outside, they saw the victim looking out the window and then returned inside and struck her, which resulted in injury.
Just after 6 p.m. Thursday, Dougherty and Elsa were both arrested for felony corporal injury to a child and transported to the Lake County Jail, where they were booked, Rasmussen said.
Bail for both was set at $75,000. Jail records indicated both Dougherty and Elsa remained in custody on Friday, with tentative court appearances set for Monday, July 28.
Lakeport Police's followup investigation on the case is expected to continue throughout Friday, with Rasmussen reporting that on Monday they plan to file the case with the Lake County District Attorney's Office for review regarding charges.