A 32-year-old man was arrested for allegedly abusing his 6-week-old daughter in unincorporated San Jose, a Santa Clara County sheriff's spokesman said Thursday.
The baby is in critical condition at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose after being violently beaten by Matthew Zabala, sheriff's Sgt. James Jensen said.
Zabala has been arrested on suspicion of child abuse and domestic violence, according to Jensen, who called the case "extremely difficult."
"As sheriff’s employees, we’re tasked with protecting the community," Jensen said. "This young, 6-week-old infant was at a vulnerable point in her life, can’t even feed herself, so it’s a horrible crime."
Deputies responded to the hospital shortly before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday on a report of possible child abuse, the spokesman said.
Investigators learned that the girl was taken by ambulance to the medical center on Sunday for a life-threatening condition, Jensen said.
Once the baby reached the hospital, medical personnel found she was suffering from cardiac arrest and found numerous fractures on her body according to Jensen.
"Doctors conducted X-rays," Jensen said. "They learned there was 14 different fractures throughout her body, including her skull."
Responding deputies called for a severe child injury response team to conduct an investigation based on the life-threatening nature of the alleged crime, according to Jensen.
Detectives went to a home in the first block of Boston Avenue north of West San Carlos Street in unincorporated San Jose, where they interviewed the child's biological parents and collected evidence, Jensen said.
Zabala was identified as the suspect and has been booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail, where he's being in lieu of $500,000 bail, according to online jail records.
Sources told NBC Bay Area that Zabala has prior convictions for child abuse. Further details about these alleged crimes, for which the man has spent time in prison, were not immediately available.
The suspect's neighbors, however, don't recall seeing Zabala in the area. Brooke Bean was going for a walk Thursday when she learned what had happened, and was rendered too emotional to continue with her plan.
"I walked halfway down the block and turned around because it bothered me so much," she said.