Boy Choked Himself, Lawyer Says Mom Not to Blame

A private investigator hired by a mom accused of grabbing the throat of a 12-year-old boy she suspected of bullying her daughter has found that the accusation against the mother of six is "unfounded."

Delia Garcia-Bratcher, 30, was arrested on a felony charge of inflicting injury on a child after she was accused of choking the boy at Olivet Charter Elementary School in Santa Rosa on May 16.

But a private investigator's 7-page preliminary report, commissioned by her lawyer and obtained Wednesday by NBC Bay Area, says the boy choked himself and then blamed her for the red marks on his neck, which were photographed at school. 

Garcia-Bratcher has yet to be formally charged.

One 10-year-old child told hired investigator Mark Adams that he saw the fifth grade boy choke himself by the school water fountains and then point the finger at Garcia-Bratcher.

The boy imitated what he saw the 12-year-old do by placing "both thumbs together on the center of his neck with his palms facing upwards and grabbing his owns cheek bones," the report says. The boy said he told a teacher and a deputy, but he didn't think the deputy believed him.

Garcia-Bratcher's attorney, Ben Adams, hired Whitestar Group Investigation and Security services to conduct the report, which he gave to the Sonoma County District Attorney on Tuesday.

Assistant District Attorney Christine Cook told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday she is reviewing the report. She added the sheriff's office is conducting further investigations, which her office will pre over before making a decision.

Cook decided at Garcia-Bratcher's first court date May 22 that she needed more time to sift through evidence, and she pushed the next court date to June 19.

As to what the alleged bullying was over, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that Garcia-Bratcher said the boy called her daughter a "dirty Indian" and that she spoke to him about the name-calling. Adams told NBC Bay Area the boy used "racial slurs." The sheriff's office previously said that deputies have yet to find evidence of any bullying.

Adams previously said that Garcia-Bratcher, who has Native American ancestry, told the boy to stop behaving like a brat and to stop tormenting her daughter. But she "adamantly denies" ever having grabbed the fifth-grader by the throat, Adams previously told NBC Bay Area.

Adams has vigorously defended Garcia-Bratcher, saying she acted as any mother would. He even went called her a "folk hero" and "mother of the year."

Photo: Delia Garcia-Bratcher talks to supporters at her first court apearance on May 22. Photo by Christie Smith.

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