GOLDEN, Colo. -- A Denver man has been ordered to stand trial in the savage beating of his girlfriend's then 2-year-old daughter.
Joshua Gonzales has been charged with Reckless Child Abuse causing serious bodily injury.
Investigators say that over a four-month period, the victim suffered numerous injuries from multiple beatings. The most recent beating left her with a lacerated liver, rib fractures, a dislocated shoulder and bruises all over her body.
Family members told investigators the bruises first began to appear when Gonzales started dating Melissa Mangeri, the victim's mom.
A babysitter noticed bruises on the victim's face in late July.
In early August, the girl's grandfather reported seeing a picture of the girl with a bruise on her face.
The victim's aunt, Ana Rodriguez, told Denver7 that she contacted police in mid-August after seeing pictures of the girl with a bruise on her cheek and black and blues eyes.
On September 14, Mangeri called 911 to report that her daughter was having a medical emergency.
Medical personnel found the girl unresponsive, lying in her mother's lap outside an elementary school.
Initially, Mangeri told police she didn't know how the injuries occurred, but when authorities told her they were "life-threatening," she told them that her boyfriend had beaten and kicked the child a few days before.
In previous instances, when family members noticed some bruises on the girl, Mangeri laid the blame on her sons, saying they were rough-housing with the girl.
Investigators said the boys told a different story, that Joshua was the one causing the bruises. Medical personnel believe the girl was chocking the night her mother called 911.
They performed back blows which made the victim cough up large amounts of brown mucus.
Toward the end of Gonzales' preliminary hearing, Judge Verna Carpenter said there was "overwhelming evidence" showing a pattern of serious bodily injury.
She ordered that Gonzales stand trial on the charge of Reckless Child Abuse.
When Gonzales' attorney asked for a reduced bond, Carpenter declined, noting numerous previous "Failures to Appear."
"And the defendant is only 21," she said.
Gonzales is due back in court on November 13.
Mangeri in court
Mangeri also made a brief appearance in court Thursday to sign some paperwork.
She's due back at 9 a.m. Friday for a bond hearing.