Late last Friday afternoon, June 27, 2003 a Contra County jury found mother Kelli Nunez and child custody advocate Jr. Manning guilty of five felony counts each. The charges centered around Kelli Nunez's belief that the children's father, Danny Nunez, and his finance, Sharon Zeff, had abused her two youngest daughters, Anna and Emily. The jury that convicted the two were not shown the vivid pictures of extreme bruising on the body of Emily. No testimony was allowed questioning the conduct of the Concord police department, the Contra Costa County Sheriff Department, Child Protective Services, the district attorney's office, Judge Judy Craddick or missing co-defendant Richard H. Peterson.
Consequently it came as no surprise when jury foreman John Smith of Danville said that jurors did not believe Nunez's allegations of child abuse by the father and his girl friend. A June 28, 2003 Valley Times article by Claire Booth said Smith "pointed to testimony that no family court official or other authority substantiated Nunez's allegations." This writer has reviewed the entire court file and the abuse allegations. The CPS files also make interesting reading. The abuse matters, not only involve the two youngest children, but also involve allegations of abuse against Danny Nunez made by Kelli's teenage daughter.
Contra County County officials have utterly failed all three children. It is not a question of whether abuse occurred; it is only a question of who inflicted the abuse. During several interviews with mothers who cared for the children during their six months in hiding, these caretakers said the girls said they were hit, slapped and dragged by their arms while in their father's care. These women said the children said such things as "Daddy hurt me, daddy dragged me to my room, and Sharon hurt my bun bun."
The county officials who are responsible to act in the best interests of the child did not do so in the Nunez case. On April 26, 2001 Contra Costa Sheriff's Deputy A. Souza responded to Kelli Nunez's home to take a report of child abuse following Emily's visit to their father's house (Report No. 01-11560) the officer took seven photos of the injuries to the child. The report reads as follows:
Concerns vict. (victim) Emily returning from visitation at her father's home with bruising and welting. Mother PRI (reporting party) believes Emily's father intentionally inflicted injury upon Emily based upon statements made by Emily. 7 photos taken and submitted.
PRI Kelli states she shares custody for her daughter, vic. Emily, with her ex-husband sus. (suspect) Daniel.
Kelli states she dropped Emily off with (name blacked out) on Friday, April 20th approx. 1710 hours. Picking Emily up from day care on Wed. April 25th.
Kelli states she was getting Emily ready for bed approx 2030 hours on Wed. April 25 when she noticed bruising and welts upon Emily.
Kelli found an approx. one inch by three inch bruise on the underside of Emily's left upper arm.
Kelli also found welting, bruising and red marks on the right buttock and right ham string area.
Kelli asked Emily how she got hurt and Emily replied, "Daddy dragged me to my room." Kelli pushed Emily for more answers but was not able to get much more other than no other children were present.
Kelli took Emily to their family doctor and was treated and released. Kelli provided a copy of the doctor's report which shows referral to CPS.
I spoke with Kelli who explained that the injuries upon Emily are identical to those which Daniel use to inflict upon Kelli's eldest daughter.
Kelli states this was a major factor in their divorcing.
I examined the welting upon Emily's buttock and left .... which appeared to me to have been inflicted by "spanking" with a bare hand upon bare skin.
The outlines of fingers, or similar shaped objects, could be seen in welting upon Emily's left .........
I examined the bruise upon Emily's arm. I could bit determine an obvious cause for this injury yet Kelli explained she felt it was caused by squeezing.
I spoke with Emily asking her how she got hurt and she replied "From daddy". I could not get any further answers from Emily.
I took seven Polaroid photos of Emily's injuries submitting them along with this report.
Kelli asked the sheriff's office for copies of the pictures but they refused to give them to her. When the officer left that day, mother Kelli took her own pictures for evidence of the abuse. It is a good thing she did because law enforcement have "lost" the pictures they took.
Enter the multi billion dollar industry that is CPS in response to the doctor's report of child abuse on Emily. These are the grand spin masters of the court system. Many employees of this organization are incompetent. Some female employees live with and protect men who physically and sexually abuse children. The moneyed party in custody battles use CPS reports to exercise an advantage over the lower income parent. With regularity CPS reports are used to protect the abuser and punish the reporting party. The state wide track record of Child Protective Services would justify renaming the entity Child Prostitute Services.
So the spin doctors immediately moved to cleanse the declining reputation of father Daniel Nunez and erase any allegations of child abuse. In a report dated July 31, 1999 the following paragraph contained on page 5 details the continuing violence in the custody battle between Kelli and Daniel Nunez.
Father filed for divorce June 1998, but parents continued to reside together until recently -- except for 1 day to 3 week intervals since February 1999 when parents began threatening/obtaining "kick-out" orders. Conflict escalated into what is considered a domestic violence incident by Concord Police (Report 99-10469- 5/2/99) when Kelli confronted Danny with evidence of his "affair" (with Sharon Zeff). When fighting woke Lindsay, she armed herself with a metal baseball bat to intervene and protect mom. After Danny removed the bat from her, reportedly shoving mother into her, Lindsay became increasing (sic) frightened and called 911. Based on the hysterical nature of this call, recorded background fighting, and police report on the incident (e.g. father's agitated condition, faint red marks on mother's neck consistent with report of choking), Danny was arrested, but released on bail shortly thereafter. While interviewed, mother then reported a previous assault (unreported) 1 1/2 years ago, and 5 incidents (unreported) of spousal rape (October to December 1998). Neither parent was believed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. At this time, the case has been closed. Although Concord police recently filed, the DA has refused to prosecute since mother sustained no injuries and her credibility was subsequently compromised (e.g. retraction, voice mail messages of 5/23/99).
For all extent and purposes the Contra Costa District Attorney's office had put the power and force of it's office squarely behind Danny Nunez in the summer of 1999. It should not be a surprise that the same district attorney's office worked overtime to deny the sitting jury in the Nunez criminal charges to (1) see the pictures of the battered child, (2) try the missing Rich Peterson, (3) hear the background of the "rescuers" of the children, (4) question why the little girls were delivered to ABC-TV instead of the district attorney, or (5) explore the current living conditions of the children.
The jury is in regarding the circus that was the Nunez/Manning criminal trial. But the jury is still out on the welfare of Anna and Emily.
By Virginia McCullough © 6-30-03
THE KELLI NUNEZ STORY: Click. [Part 9] Click. [Part 8] CLICK. [Part 7] CLICK. [Part 6] CLICK. [Part 5] CLICK. [Part 4]
CLICK. [Part 3] CLICK. [Part 2] CLICK [Part 1]