SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — An investigative report illustrates doubt on whether a Santa Rosa mother grabbed the throat of a 12-year-old boy who was allegedly bullying her daughter.
The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa says the seven-page report was released Tuesday by attorneys for 30-year-old Delia Garcia-Bratcher. It suggests the boy choked himself, leaving red marks he later claimed were caused by the mother of six.
The theory is based on statements from a 10-year-old witness who told a defense investigator that he saw the boy put both hands around his own neck after Garcia-Bratcher left Olivet Charter Elementary School on May 16.
The witness demonstrated how the boy did it, placing both thumbs together on the center of his neck with his palms facing upward and grabbing his own cheekbones, the report said.
The mother said she simply talked to the alleged bully.
The Sonoma County District Attorney's Office did not file charges on May 22 against Garcia-Bratcher. Deputy District Attorney Anne Masterson said the investigation into the case against Garcia-Bratcher is still underway and asked Judge Dana Simonds to continue the case for two weeks.
No adults witnessed the assault but numerous children were present at the time, according to the sheriff's office.
In a subsequent press release, sheriff's officials said they were unable to find a "nexus" between Garcia-Bratcher's daughter and the 11-year-old boy and that they were unable to determine if any bullying ever occurred between the two.
"We have exculpatory evidence the boy made up the story," defense attorney Ben Adams said after this morning's brief hearing.
"She is adamant she never laid a hand on him, and she didn't get (confront) the wrong boy. This boy is lying," Adams said of his client.
Adams said "a very excellent investigator" was hired to determine the alleged victim lied.
"This story will develop over the next few weeks," he said.
"Our heads are held high today. She's innocent. A good mother protects her child," Adams said.
Garcia-Bratcher politely asked the boy to leave her daughter alone, Adams said.
"She said, 'I don't want to have to tell on you. Stop being a brat," Adams said. "The school should step up and do their damn job."
Garcia-Bratcher has taken her children out of Olivet Elementary School, Adams said.
Adams said other parents have said there is a history of bullying at the school and nothing was done about it.
"My client is a folk hero all over the world. She did nothing wrong. The boy got confronted about it and now is lying about it," Adams said.
"If there were marks on the boy's neck, he or someone else put them there," Adams said.
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