A social worker was bribed with $10,000 in food stamps and did not report abuse of a 5-year-old boy who was later found dead and buried in a backyard, prosecutors said Wednesday.
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Nancy Caraballo bought more than $10,000 in food stamps from Larissa Rodriguez for 50 cents on the dollar from July 2015 to December 2017, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley told WJW.
Rodriguez’s son, Jordan Rodriguez, was found buried behind a house Dec. 19. His body had broken ribs and other signs of abuse, according to WJW.
“Selfish criminal acts such as these take the food from the children who cannot provide for themselves, making them the true victims of these crimes," Greg Croft, agent-in-charge of the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Investigative Unit, told WJW.
The boy had not been seen alive since September. The brother of the child’s stepfather called police from Pakistan about the death, according to WOIO.
Larissa Rodriguez, 34, who has nine children and is pregnant, was arrested and charged with murder, felonious assault, endangering children and offenses against a human corpse, according to WJW. She pleaded not guilty. Her bond was set at $1 million. Child welfare workers have looked into allegations including neglect and physical abuse in connection with Larissa Rodriguez since 1999.
The mother’s boyfriend, Christopher Rodriguez, 36, was indicted on charges of murder, felonious assault, endangering children and gross abuse of a corpse, according to WJW. He was already being held at Medina County Jail on unrelated charges, according to WJW.
Caraballo was indicted on trafficking food stamps. If malnutrition played a role in the boy’s death she could face more charges, O’Malley told WJW.