ESCONDIDO, Calif. – The father of a 5-year-old boy found beaten and chained in Mexico City last month is hoping the child will soon be returned to him in Escondido.
Family members told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the boy’s father, Pascual Castro, is not a legal U.S. citizen but was granted custody of the boy following a separation from his wife, who is a U.S. citizen.
Castro told El Universal that he sent the boy to live with his sister while he came to work in the United States. He said he was unable to cross the border since he was “regularizing” his immigration status in the U.S.
The boy, who is a U.S. citizen, was sent to live with his aunt after his mother and father separated, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.
Pascual Castro told El Universal he had recently seen videos of his son and thought everything was OK.
“I never thought they would treat him like this. It hurts me a lot, my poor son,” he said. “I feel terrible about this.”
On June 27, the child was rescued from a home in Mexico City, where prosecutors said he had been chained, starved and beaten.
The boy’s aunt and uncle were arrested and charged with illegal deprivation of liberty for the purpose of causing harm, the Tribune reported.
If convicted, the couple faces 60 years in prison.
After learning about the abuse, Castro went to the office of Rep. Darrell Issa in Vista for help getting his son back to the U.S.
“We will do everything in our power to get him out of this abusive situation and into a safe and stable environment where he can get the help he so desperately needs,” Issa said in an emailed statement to the Tribune. “This is absolutely heartbreaking.”
Where the boy ultimately ends up, however, depends on the special prosecutor for the rights of children in Mexico City, Mexican Consul General in San Diego Marcela Celorio told the Tribune.
The child’s grandmother, Virginia Sanderson, told the Tribune she did not know the boy had been sent to live in Mexico.
Sanderson said her daughter has turned her life around and can now care for her son.
She also said she did not trust Pascual Castro and thinks the boy should be “reunited with his mother.”