Couple whose toddler was gravely injured in babysitter's care: We want justice

Honolulu couple wants to know why that babysitter was never charged with assault.
(Image: Chelsea Valiente)
(Image: Chelsea Valiente)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Peyton Valiente is an active, energetic 3-year-old.

But beneath his hat is an 8-inch scar from an injury he suffered when he was 17 months old — at his babysitter's house in Ewa Beach.

Peyton's mom, Chelsea, remembers that day vividly.

Her babysitter called her and said, "Your son is having a hard time waking up and he had thrown up a few times prior."

The unresponsive child was hospitalized with bleeding on his brain and eyes and finger-like bruises on his body.

"He's my only boy," said Peyton's father, Rey. "It's so hard to accept that somebody would do this to him. I was shaking. I couldn't think. I couldn't move. As soon as I got there, I was speechless. I kept telling him, 'Peyton! Wake up! Wake up son! Don't leave!' He wouldn't respond."

Just over two years after the incident, no charges have been filed against the couple's babysitter. And the Valientes believe police did a poor job investigating because the babysitter's husband is a Honolulu police officer.

On Wednesday, the Honolulu Police Commission asked the department to reopen the case, first reported in Civil Beat, and launch an internal investigation into the initial detective work.

"We've requested the chief to take another look at it and do an audit and see and he has said he would do that. And I've asked him to report to us at our next meeting in two weeks," said Honolulu Police Commission Chairman Max Sword.

The Valientes believe HPD's internal investigation will uncover mistakes in the case.

When police interviewed Peyton's mother, for example, the detective was improperly contacted by the babysitter and her police officer husband.

"Her husband came on the phone and started talking to the detective and how I knew that was because he made mention to reassure his wife that she had nothing to worry about and this was all protocol," Chelsea Valiente said.

She added: "There's no question my son was abused during the time he was there at the babysitter and we want someone to be held accountable. It's been two years and we thought that we would get a fair shot at a proper investigation regardless whether her husband is a HPD officer, we really trusted the system."

Today, while Peyton is doing much better, he's still susceptible to seizures. His family believes he suffered some permanent brain damage.

"He may have a hard time regulating emotion, attention," his mother said. "There's just a lot of recovery still needed and we don't really know what the lasting effects are."

The Valientes' attorney, Chris Bouslog, said the parents are just looking for justice.

"I think it's very, very important that the person who did this horrific assault be held accountable, not just for Peyton's sake, but to protect the public because this woman is still babysitting and clearly a very profound risk to our community, to children," he said.

Hawaii News Now sought comment from the babysitter in the case, but did not receive a response.

The Valientes are asking anyone with information on the case to call police.

"Give us a fair shot, this was done to our son," Chelsea Valiente said. "Our lives have changed so dramatically because of it. And all we ask for is answers and someone to be held accountable. He can't talk for himself, he can't defend himself. That's why we're doing this."

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