Peyton Valiente turned 4 in August.
His family says he’s a happy child, but behind the smile lies an unknown: how the severe brain injury he sustained at 17 months will affect him later in life.
The toddler’s parents say he was injured while under the care of a daycare, run by the wife of a recently retired Honolulu police officer.
Chelsea and Rey Valiente tried for years to find out who hurt their child.
Honolulu police could not identify the suspect, admitting to the family the investigation was done poorly.
Now, neither can the state attorney general. Doug Chin announced he will not pursue criminal charges in the case.
“We feel very deeply concerned about the situation that happened there. It broke my heart to meet the Valiente parents and explain to them we didn’t really have a lot more to go on,” said Chin.
Though grateful for the state’s investigation, Rey Valiente says the outcome is “very frustrating. It is what it is.”
The attorney general’s office took an unusual step by convening an investigative grand jury to summon several suspects.
The Honolulu Police Department helped the attorney general’s office obtain cell phone records, analyze the cell phone, and interview witnesses.
Chin says Peyton Valiente was reportedly violently shaken while under the care of individuals at the daycare. There were multiple witnesses when he was injured.
The Valientes’ attorney says they were called to testify, but all exercised their Fifth Amendment rights.
“They declined to give anything other than their names and were instructed not to answer any questions,” said attorney Chris Bouslog.
“When we called people to testify, the results of it were we were unable to determine the specific identify of the perpetrator. Unfortunately, what that means is that we can’t bring criminal charges if we don’t have a specific person to identify as the culprit,” explained Chin.
State Sen. Will Espero urged the attorney general’s office to take on the case. He says the outcome is disappointing.
“We know a possible crime happened in a certain home to a child who was in the care of several individuals. Unfortunately due to poor, sloppy police work, there is no justice for Peyton at this time,” said Espero.
It is not the outcome the Valientes hoped for.
“One day when Peyton is old enough, to understand the extent of his injuries, I have no answers to give him other than, ‘This is what happened to you.’ But I have no answer as to who did it, and that’s the most frustrating and disappointing part in all of this,” Chelsea Valiente said in tears.
Chin says he is open to pursuing charges if new evidence is brought to light, though there is a problem: the statute of limitations into the case ends in January.
Justice may still be served for the Valiente family, however. Bouslog says a civil suit was filed against the daycare. It is currently pending litigation.