Dad sues US state, claims it failed to protect his daughter from abuse

The father of a three-year-old girl who died after being physically abused by her mother’s boyfriend is suing the state of Connecticut for failing to protect his daughter.

Little Athena Angeles presented at a doctor’s clinic with two black eyes and a swollen face after reportedly being punched in the face by Fredy Alexander Chingo Riz in October 2011.

Athena later showed up at her pre-school with bruises to her face, lips and nostril, and then showed the following day with more bruising.

In November 2011, the three-year-old was taken to hospital with a fever and a laceration to the back of her head that required “several” staples.

Three-year-old Athena Angeles.
Three-year-old Athena Angeles.

Court documents showed Athena had her head shoved into a sink on that occasion.

But just 18 hours after being discharged from hospital, Athena went into cardiac arrest.

After being raced back to hospital, it was found she was suffering from internal bleeding, apparently caused by being punched in the rib cage and stomach.

She died later that day.

Court documents show the Connecticut Department of Children and families were aware that she being abused by her mother’s live-in boyfriend.

Fredy Alexander Chingo Riz and Rosa Gladis Diaz-Mendez.
Fredy Alexander Chingo Riz and Rosa Gladis Diaz-Mendez.

Despite teachers and other medical officials raising concerns for Athena’s home welfare, on at least five occasions she was allowed to return to her abusive home in Willimantic Connecticut.

Now Athena’s biological father Hugo Angeles has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, claiming his daughter’s death “was a direct result of the negligence and carelessness” of the state’s child welfare employees.

When he first filed his lawsuit four years ago, Angeles was seeking $20 million in damages for Athena’s death and $5 million for serious injuries suffered by his other daughter Artemisa who was also abused by Riz.

Riz was sentenced to 29 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter last year while Athena’s mother Rosa Gladis Diaz-Mendez was jailed for six years for her role in her daughter’s death.