6-Year-Old Girl Is Baker Acted From Old Kings Elementary; Palm Coast Man Accused of Rape
FlaglerLive | March 11, 2014
For the second time in two weeks, an elementary-age child was Baker Acted at a Flagler County school. Two weeks ago the child at Belle Terre Elementary school was a 7-year-old girl. On Friday, a 6-year-old girl, likely in kindergarten and possibly autistic, was Baker Acted from Old Kings Elementary.
On Feb. 25, a 7-year-old girl was Baker Acted from Belle Terre Elementary after reportedly becoming physically aggressive with other students and staff there.
According to the Sheriff’s Office’s incident report on the case, the child “became aggressive and combative with staff” at 12:30 the afternoon of March 7. “Numerous attempts to deescalate the aggressive behavior were attempted with brief success only to re-escalate the violence with increased aggression. During the last outburst, [the child] obtained a wooden door stop and used it as a weapon, stabbing a teacher in the ribs and then throwing the object at the staff’s head. [The child] was also reportedly inflicting harm to herself, there was a visible raised area on her forehead where she was banging her head.”
Kirianne Bird, the assistant principal, provided a written statement outlining her observations.
Because of privacy laws, neither the school district nor the Sheriff’s Office comment on the medical reasons behind a student’s behavior. But commenting about Baker Acts in general, which have been up in the county and increasingly occupying deputies’ time, Sheriff Jim Manfre said up to half the cases involve individuals who go off their medication. Other reasons abound, however, and the trigger behind the 6-year-old child’s case at Old Kings is not publicly known.
The police report notes that the child’s 31-year-old mother was summoned to the school and made aware of the situation. The mother said she thought something like this would happen “again” due to her child being “off her schedule,” with routine and keeping to a schedule being very important to the child. Her mother told police that she had taken the child to Halifax Behavioral Services in Daytona Beach a few weeks before, only to be told that she would first have to make an appointment, then wait until the following month before her child could be seen.
Manfre, who has been making a point of heightening public awareness of Baker Act and other mental health issues in the community—through interviews and presentations before the Palm Coast City Council—said last week that state support for behavioral centers has dried up over the years, shifting the responsibility for mental health care to local government budgets that usually cannot afford the burden. What support exists is limited, resulting in a dearth of services.
A Baker Act by law results in immediate (and usually involuntary) confinement at the psychiatric ward in Daytona Beach, with a legally required 72-hour assessment, barring a determination that a patient does not meet Baker Act criteria. So in some cases, a Baker Act is a family’s version of going to a mental health emergency room: turning down a patient is not an option.
But the law also requires that Baker Act patients be seized by police and transported in police custody.
The 6-year-old child was transported in a police cruiser to Daytona Beach, but she was accompanied by a school counselor and had a doll with her. The child and the counselor talked during the trip, which was completed without incident, the report states.
Andrew J. Vasquez of Palm Coast Is Jailed on a Rape Charge
In an unrelated incident on March 9, Andrew J. Vasquez, a 23-year-old resident of 56 Filbert Lane in Palm Coast, was arrested on March 9 and charged with sex battery–that is, rape–by coercion or threat and domestic battery by strangulation after allegedly forcing his victim to perform oral sex against her consent.
A Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a call after midnight Sunday to find the 47-year-old victim at the front door of a house, naked from the waist down and very upset. She was given a blanket and placed in the back of a deputy’s car. She told deputies that she had been at Smile’s Bar with Vasquez earlier that night, having drinks. She left the bar for home at 10:30 p.m. and went to bed. At midnight, Vasquez, who she said was drunk, was banging on her front door. She let him in the house.
Vasquez then undressed and joined her in bed, she said, then allegedly put her hand around her neck, began choking her, and demanded that she perform oral sex “or I will kill you,” she said he stated, according to his arrest report. The victim talked him into the kitchen and attempted to reason with him. But Vasquez allegedly repeated the same line of attack and demands. Fearing for her safety, the victim struck him in the head with a beer bottle. Vasquez fell to the floor, got up again and yelled at the woman.
In fear for her life, the victim said she then complied with Vasquez’s demands until he fell asleep on the kitchen floor. The arresting officer saw no marks on the victim’s neck. She refused medical treatment. The arrest report states that it was unclear how the victim ended up outside, without clothes, as she had told deputies that she was clothed when she’d gone to bed. Vasquez would not answer cops’ questions when he was taken into custody. He remained at the Flagler County jail Tuesday on $27,500 bond. He was arrested last September for disorderly intoxication.