A Bakersfield man with a history of drug abuse remained jailed Monday after allegedly biting out one of his 4-year-old son's eyes and mutilating the other.
Angel Vidal Mendoza, 34, has been charged with mayhem, torture, child cruelty and inflicting an injury to a child in the alleged attack on his son, Angelo Mendoza Jr. Bakersfield police said in a search warrant that the child told investigators "my daddy ate my eyes" and that Mendoza appeared to be under the influence of PCP following the April 28 incident.
After two neighbors found the injured child in the apartment he shared with his father, witnesses told authorities that a man in a wheelchair who turned out to be Mendoza was in the backyard of a nearby vacant home hacking his own legs with an ax, police said. Mendoza was arrested a week later.
Kern County Jail officials said they did not know whether he had hired an attorney, and online court records do not indicate whether he is represented. Mendoza is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, when a date for a preliminary hearing in the case is expected to be set.
Doctors at Mercy Hospital, where the boy is being treated, said it is unclear whether Angelo will regain vision in his right eye or be permanently blinded.
The case has raised questions about whether the child was being adequately monitored by Kern County's Child Protective Services department. Mendoza and the child's 23-year-old mother were charged with being under the influence of PCP in 2006 and pleaded no contest to child cruelty charges in that case, court records show.
Police said the mother, Desirae Marie Bermudez, was not present when the child's eyes were injured. There is a $15,000 warrant for her arrest for failing to complete a drug treatment program last year, according to court documents.
Mendoza has a criminal record going back to 1997 that includes convictions for selling alcohol to a minor, battery and check forgery.
Officials with Child Protective Services declined to comment on the case.