EL MONTE — Officials arrested a South El Monte woman with a history of child abuse Wednesday after she went missing for 12 days with her two young daughters.
Alma Beatriz Frias, 29, was booked on suspicion of child abuse and was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the sheriff’s Temple Station, Sgt. Dan Scott of the sheriff’s Special Victims Unit said.
During interviews after her arrest Wednesday, “(Frias) admitted kicking the 2-year-old and tossing the 2-month old in her crib,” Scott said.
“I think it would shock anybody,” he added.
The children were taken into protective custody and turned over to the County Department of Children and Family Services, Scott said.
“The children appeared to be in good health,” he added.
DCFS officials will determine where to place the children, whether it be with other family members or in the foster system, the sergeant said.
“It’s a relief that the children were found and they were unharmed,” Scott said.
Frias, a mother of at least seven children, had not been seen since May 15 when she ran from her home during a visit from social workers, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Byron Ward said in a written statement. At the time, she was being investigated for an abuse allegation, authorities said.
When workers went inside the home, they couldn’t find the children, so they presumed to be with their mother, officials said.
The sheriff’s Special Victims Unit was asked to join the investigation Friday, according to a Sheriff’s Department statement.
The investigation led to a house in El Monte. Deputies didn’t find Frias, however information gleaned from that visit led officials to a second El Monte home where Frias and the 2-month-old girl were found, Scott said.
Frias then told detectives her older daughter was at her grandmother’s home in Baldwin Park, Scott said, and officials picked her up.
Investigators likely will not pursue any charges against the grandmother, he added.
Frias’ had five other children taken away and served two years in state prison following a 2003 conviction of child abuse causing great bodily injury, according to Scott and court records. Further details of the 2003 incident were not available Wednesday.
According to court records, Frias is due Friday for arraignment in El Monte Superior Court on Friday.
PHOTO of Alma Frias courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.