A Bellevue man is headed to prison for shaking his daughter so hard she had to go to the Emergency Room. The state says his wife could have prevented the incident but her family doesn’t believe that.
Daniel Salazar and Chrizelle Els met in a chat room and fell in love with 10,000 miles between them. Daniel was living in Alaska. Chrizelle lived in South Africa with her family, including twin sister Chrizanne.
Chrizanne told us, “She was very in love with him."
Daniel married Chrizelle in South Africa. The two started a family there and eventually moved to Bellevue where they would have a total of four children. Last year, the couple's youngest child, a daughter, ended up in intensive care.
“She was very, very devastated," Chrizanne said.
The infant had a dislocated arm, bleeding on the brain and bruising on her eyelid and stomach. X-rays showed a broken leg healing. She was just 5-weeks-old.
The girl's father, Daniel Salazar, admitted to shaking the infant on two occasions. He could get up to 50 years in prison when he's sentenced next month.
Chrizanne Els told us, “He never did anything wrong in front of her. Everything that he did, he did down her back."
Chrizelle Els' family believes that should be the end of it. She should be released from jail and get her children back.
Investigators point to a pattern. According to court documents obtained by Fact Finders, last year, the couple's third child, a son, was removed from their home when he was 3-weeks-old.
At the time, Daniel Salazar admitted he was responsible for the bruising on both of his son's arms. The state calls it a clear case of neglect by both parents and says the children's mother was, "not a willing participant in therapy,” and was, "more interested in her husband's welfare than the injured child."
Deputy Sarpy County Attorney Nicole Hutter said, "She failed to protect the child. We don't have to necessarily prove everything that was going on in the home at the time but we will have to prove that she had a certain amount of knowledge of the danger the child may have been in. And she failed to act upon it."
Twin sister Chrizanne said, “She never abused any of the children. She did not know that Danny was abusing them."
In 2012, the couple lost their second child, a daughter, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Detectives have since reopened the case to see if that indeed was what killed the 5-week-old.
After the death, a newly-pregnant Chrizelle said Daniel told her, "’I promise I will be more gentle with this baby.’"
The children's mother does not have a trial date yet. If convicted she could get up to 50 years.
The three children are currently living in the metro with Daniel's relatives. One of the caregivers told us, "There's no way she did not know he was injuring the children."