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Gonzales pleads not guilty to child abuse charges

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By Deborah Swearingen

The man accused of seriously injuring a toddler pleaded not guilty Monday to one count of felony child abuse with seriously bodily harm.

Joshua James Gonzales, 22, will return to court Jan. 17 for a motions hearing. According to Pam Russell, spokeswoman with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office, Gonzales posted a $100,000 cash or surety bond on Oct. 27 and is no longer in custody.

Gonzales is accused of having beaten the 2-year-old daughter of his girlfriend, Melissa Mangeri, in the 1400 block of South Pierson Street in Lakewood on Sept. 11. Three days later, the victim, who has since turned 3, and her mother were discovered outside of Doull Elementary School in Denver. Mangeri, 28, called 911 to report that her child was having a medical emergency. When medical help arrived, the child was “unresponsive and not breathing,” according to the arrest affidavit.

The toddler was transported to Denver Heath Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Though she survived, the child had severe head injuries, fractured ribs and a lacerated liver. According to the affidavit, several Denver Health doctors confirmed Mangeri’s daughter’s injuries were consistent with “physical abuse including strangulation and abusive head trauma.”

Mangeri was arrested Oct. 19 in connection with the assault of her daughter. According to the arrest affidavit, the 28-year-old was present during one or more of the assaults on her daughter and failed to seek assistance. This placed the child “in a situation that posed a threat of injury or death,” reads a press release from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office.

Mangeri appeared in court Oct. 26 for an advisement of charges being filed against her and will return Tuesday for a preliminary hearing. Mangeri’s bond initially was set at $50,000 but was later modified to $30,000. She posted bond Oct. 20 and is no longer in custody.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.