Army wife accused of supergluing son's genitals stays in jail
By GUILLERMO CONTRERAS | San Antonio Express-News | Published: October 29, 2013
SAN ANTONIO — Military wife Jennifer Marie Vargas, who is accused of partially tearing her 6-year-old son's genitals and supergluing them, opted Monday to remain in jail, pending trial.
The boy's father, who spoke with the San Antonio Express-News on the condition that his name nor his children's names not be used to protect their privacy, said Monday that his son spent three days in the hospital. He also has another younger child with Vargas, to whom he has been married for 11 years.
“He's fine,” the Army soldier said of the boy. “He'll be OK. ... They just want to get back to some normalcy after the past (few) weeks.”
Vargas, whose maiden name is Hackney and still uses her last name from a previous marriage, waived hearings Monday morning for probable cause and bail in federal court in San Antonio.
That means she did not contest that the Army and the FBI had probable cause to arrest her, and she opted not to seek bail.
She was convinced to waive the hearings by her lawyer, assistant federal public defender Alfredo Villarreal, in part because of the massive, international media attention Vargas' case has garnered since the Express-News first reported it last week. The hearings would have meant the release of more details about the case.
Villarreal left through a rear door of the courtroom and was unavailable for comment after the hearing.
Court records said that on Sept. 27, 2013, the father found the boy crying in his room when the father returned to the family's residence at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, where the father is stationed.
The boy had bloody tissues in his underwear, and the father took him to San Antonio Military Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to repair a 1.5-inch-long tear to his scrotum. The boy also had bruising to his penis.
Vargas, who turns 34 in December, later admitted to investigators that she was angry and pulled the boy's genitals hard, causing the tear.
She also told agents that rather than seek medical attention, she cleaned the injury with alcohol, putting superglue on it until it stopped bleeding, put paper towels in his underwear and sent him to bed, court records said.
The father said he had some idea why Vargas allegedly did what she is accused of doing but declined to elaborate.
He said there had been no previous issues with Vargas.
Vargas, wearing a jail jumpsuit and shackled and cuffed, looked briefly at her husband's direction while he looked straight ahead.
The boy's father said he is now in the process of divorcing Vargas. Although appreciative of the outpouring of support from strangers for his child, he has asked for privacy.
“It's a terrible case, and it's almost unbelievable anyone could hurt a child the way she (allegedly) hurt this little boy,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Wannarka. 'I've never seen anything like it. I've never seen anyone act with such a rage and hurt their child this way.”
Federal authorities are involved because it happened on federal land, and Vargas is a civilian.
Last week, the Express-News reported that Vargas got deferred adjudication probation and paid a fine for assaulting an ex-husband.
The case involving the child now proceeds to a grand jury for possible indictment, or formal charges.