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Norwalk Couple Charged With Child Abuse

Norwalk Police have arrested a 21-year-old Norwalk woman whose son was severely burned in January and subsequently found to have two rib fractures.

Marimelissa Salvato of 29 Fairfield Ave. and her boyfriend, David Johnston, 29, of Newtown and were arrested Saturday and each was charged with injury/risk/impairing morals, cruelty to persons and assault. Bond for each was $75,000.

The 20-month-old boy and his 7-year-old sister were taken by the Department of Children and Families and are temporarily placed with a relative, according to Norwalk Sgt. Lisa Cotto. The boy, whose father died of a medical condition, spent 11 days in Bridgeport Hospital where treatment for the burn on his right hand included surgery.

Salvato took him to Advanced Pediatrics on Main Avenue on Jan. 9, saying he had touched hot soup the day before, Cotto said. Doctors thought the burn was not consistent with the story the mother gave, and noted that he had bruises on his back and on his elbow, all in different stages of healing. They called police.

Cotto said Salvato changed her story while riding with the boy in the ambulance to Bridgeport, telling paramedics he had burned himself on hot coffee. At the hospital, she again said it was soup, fresh from the microwave.

She said the bruises were because the child was unsteady as he walked and bumped into things. Salvato told police that Johnston has a temper. Johnston later tried to blame the toddler's then 6-year-old sister for the bruises, saying she had been playing with the baby, maybe she had been too rough.

Doctors say the rib fractures are consistent with someone squeezing the child's chest. DCF said the injuries were consistent with physical abuse. The bruises were in an unusual location for accidental bruises for a child that age.

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