Military wife Jennifer Marie Vargas, who is accused of partially tearing her 6-year-old son’s genitals and supergluing them, opted Monday to remain in jail pending trial.
The boy’s father, who spoke with the San Antonio Express-News on the condition that neither his name nor his children’s names be used (in order protect their privacy), said Monday that his son spent three days in the hospital. He also has another child with Vargas, to whom he has been married for 11 years.
“He’s fine,” the Army soldier said of the boy. “He’ll be OK. … They just want to get back to some normalcy after the past (few) weeks.”
Vargas, whose maiden name is Hackney and still uses her last name from a previous marriage, waived hearings Monday for probable cause and bail in federal court in San Antonio.
That means she did not contest that the Army and the FBI had probable cause to arrest her on a preliminary federal charge of assault with bodily injury, and she opted not to seek bail. The charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.
She was persuaded to waive the hearings by her lawyer, assistant federal public defenderAlfredo Villarreal, in part because of the massive, international media attention Vargas’ case has garnered since the Express-News first reported it last week. The hearings would have meant the release of more details about the case.
Villarreal left through a rear door of the courtroom and was unavailable for comment after the hearing.
Court records said that on Sept. 27, the father discovered the boy crying in his room when the father returned to the family’s residence at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, where the father is stationed.
The boy had blood in his underwear, and the father took him to San Antonio Military Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to repair a 1.5-inch tear to his scrotum. The boy also had bruising to his penis.
Vargas, who turns 34 in December, later admitted to investigators she was angry and pulled the boy’s genitals hard, causing the tear.
She also told agents that rather than seek medical attention, she cleaned the injury with alcohol, put superglue on it until it stopped bleeding, stuffed paper towels in his underwear and sent him to bed, court records said.
The father said he had some idea why Vargas is accused of injuring the boy, but he declined to elaborate. Also, a friend stepped in and requested the boy’s father not be asked to discuss the incident because it is too difficult.
The boy’s father said there had been no previous issues with Vargas.
Vargas, wearing a jail jumpsuit and shackled and cuffed, looked briefly toward her husband while he looked straight ahead during the hearing.
The father said he is divorcing Vargas. While appreciative of the outpouring of support from strangers for his child, he asked for privacy.
“It’s a terrible case, and it’s almost unbelievable anyone could hurt a child the way she (allegedly) hurt this little boy,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Wannarka. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anyone act with such a rage and hurt their child this way.”
Federal authorities are involved because it happened on federal land, and Vargas is a civilian.
Last week, the Express-News reported that Vargas got deferred adjudication probation and paid a fine for assaulting an ex-husband in 1999 in Georgetown, north of Austin.
The case involving the child now proceeds to a grand jury for possible indictment, or formal charges.