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Man accused of burning child with cigarette

By Staff | Mar 30, 2010

A Cape Coral man is accused of burning a 5-year-old girl on her chest with a cigarette while she was at his home.
Pablo Rico, 56, of 1402 S.W. 15th Place, is charged with one count of cruelty toward a child — torture punish cage a child. He remained at the Lee County Jail on $15,000 bond Tuesday evening, according to the jail booking records.
On March 23, the Cape Coral police were contacted by the Department of Children and Families in reference to a complaint from a school. According to the report, the girl told one of her teachers that she had to keep the
top of her dress up to hide the burns. The teacher saw three burn marks on her upper chest and took the girl to the school nurse, who notified DCF.
The girl said Rico had burned her with a cigarette and told her not to tell anyone, officials reported.
DCF learned from the girl’s mother that the child spends weekends at the home of Rico and another party. The mother reported that her daughter calls them grandma and grandpa, even though they are not related. She had
noticed the burn marks on her daughter’s chest March 21 after the child had spent the weekend at Rico’s home and she had intended to confront Rico.
According to Connie Barron, spokeswoman for the Cape police, police talked to Rico and the other party on Wednesday. The woman said she had not seen anything and the child had said nothing to her about being burned. Rico told police that the girl had burned herself in the kitchen with cooking oil, police said. He also said he smokes cigarettes and is the only smoker in the household.
Cape police were notified Friday by medical staff that the burns on the girl’s chest are from a cigarette and not cooking oil, Barron added.
On Monday, Rico agreed to a second interview with police. He did not change his story. Rico continued to state that the burns were caused by cooking oil and he said the girl was lying. According to Barron, Rico acknowledged that the burns did look like they were caused by a cigarette when he was asked.
Rico was arrested and charged. His next court date is set for May 5.