INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis woman has pleaded guilty to a lesser felony charge following the death of her boyfriend’s 2-year-old son.
Dilcia Chavez Claros reached a plea agreement with Marion County prosecutors on April 4 in which she agreed to plead guilty to neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, a level 3 felony.
In exchange for the plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a more serious charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a level 1 felony.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 17, and Chavez Claros faces up to 12 years in prison.
Two-year-old Jose Cubas Rivas died after Chavez Claros brought him into the hospital unconscious.
The toddler had suffered extensive head trauma from weeks of suspected abuse, records show.
A concerned citizen, Morgan Lovrovich, said the 2-year-old boy would be alive today if authorities had heeded concerns about alleged child abuse.
Lovrovich contacted police on September 22 after seeing a toddler with two black eyes at the Plato’s Closet on East Washington Street.
“He had marks around his neck and up and down his arms,” Lovrovich said in a previous interview with RTV6. “I came outside, and I called the police, and the police came, and I gave them my story.”
Lovrovich said Chavez Claros should not be convicted of a lesser charge.
“This shouldn’t even be an option for her,” Lovrovich, in response to the plea agreement, said. “This is why kids are being killed. People are turning their heads at the whole situation in itself and acting like its normal.”
Lovrovich said Chavez Claros should spend the rest of her life in prison.
Lovrovich said the father and Chavez Claros, told police a different story in September 2017.
“They said he fell off a table,” Lovrovich said.
Lovrovich said the little boy’s father should also be charged, but he has not been criminally charged.
Six weeks after Lovrovich contacted police, 2-year-old, Jose Cubas Rivas, died Nov. 1, 2017, when Claros brought him into the hospital unconscious.
Records show Rivas brain injuries were so severe doctors had to remove parts of his skull to alleviate swelling.
"It just felt like it could have been prevented if more steps were taken," Lovrovich said. “If he had been taken out of the home, he could still be here today. I just want to be his voice.”
Lovrovich’s account of suspected child abuse is included in court documents filed by Marion County prosecutors against Claros.
Lovrovich is not the only one who called authorities about Jose Rivas.
A social worker who had been in the family’s east side home called the Indiana Department of Child Services after noticing bruises on Rivas, records show.
The social worker never heard from a DCS investigator, according to court records.
An Indianapolis Metro Police officer also contacted the Indiana Department of Child Services following Lovrovich’s report of suspected abuse.
“(Officer Gray) spoke to the DCS employee on the phone and ensured she arrived at the home to investigate shortly after he left,” court documents read.
It’s unclear what DCS did or didn’t do in Jose Rivas’ case.
The agency can’t legally comment on whether they have an open case on a child or family.
DCS did provide the following protocol for how reports of suspected abuse and neglect are handed:
- A report comes into the hotline 800.800.5556
- An Intake Specialist takes the report. That person is a trained Family Case Manager
- After the report the Intake Specialist confers with their Intake Supervisor about the report
- Together the Intake Specialist and Supervisor make a recommendation to the local office (county where the allegation is taking place) to assess or not assess the allegation, based on the information from the report
- The local office receives the report and the recommendation from the Hotline
- The local office makes the decision to assess or not assess the allegation
Lovrovich found out about the 2-year-old’s death by reading the story on the RTV6 app.
“I cried and cried as soon as I saw the headline come across my phone,” Lovrovich said. “If he was taken out of the home, and put in foster care or moved in with a relative, he would still be here.”
Call 6 Investigates put in a request to speak with Claros from jail and she declined.
If you see a child you suspect might have been abused, call the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-800-5556.