BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — When community organizations showered him with gifts days before Christmas, Ralfeal Torrez had two outstanding misdemeanor warrants and his ex-girlfriend alleged he punched her a month earlier, according to court documents.
Torrez, a 42-year-old military veteran who recently moved from transitional housing to an apartment and received furnishings and other items through CityServe and Honor Flight Kern County, is charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors in connection with injuries his children suffered.
His ex, Cassandra Warnell, told investigators Torrez was awarded full custody of their four children Dec. 1. She has visitation with them on Saturdays and holidays.
On Christmas Day, she picked up the children — all of who are 9 or younger — and noticed bruising and what appeared to be “choke marks” on one of them, Warnell told investigators. She examined the other children, saw more injuries and called police.
One child told police his father hit him in the legs with a white cord. Another said Torrez beat them with a belt then choked him and pushed him against a wall, the filings say.
That boy said Torrez “whipped” them for opening toys — which the community had donated — on Christmas Eve while he slept, according to the documents.
In speaking with Warnell, officers noticed bruising near her eyes. She told them Torrez punched her several times Nov. 28 outside a thrift store.
Warnell said they had a history of domestic violence, and on that occasion he’d been drinking, according to the documents. She declined medical aid.
Officers ran a records check and saw Torrez had two warrants for his arrest for failing to show at a court hearing in a 2017 case where he’s charged with spousal abuse and vandalism.
Torrez denied intentionally harming his children but said he grabbed one of the boys by the neck because he was acting up during a trip to Walmart. He told police the children play rough and hit each other with belts.
The groups that organized the donations said the items given to Torrez will be awarded to other veterans if he’s convicted. The children will get to keep their toys.
Torrez is due back in court Jan. 11.