Felony charges filed in 3rd Circuit Court against East Hawai‘i man accused of starving, beating toddler

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Felony charges have been filed 3rd Circuit Court against a Mountain View man accused starving, burning and hitting a 2-year-old child.

31-year-old Clayton Ernest Saragosa has been charged with the extreme abuse of a two-year-old girl. Saragosa is reportedly the live-in boyfriend of the child’s mother. (Courtesy of Hawaii Island Police)

Hawai‘i County prosecuting attorneys filed the charging sheet on Wednesday where Clayton Saragosa, 31, was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor and three counts of abuse of a family or household member.

Saragosa was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in District Court. Bail in the 3rd Circuit Court case is set at $100,000. An arraignment and plea is yet to be scheduled.

According to the charging document, abuse against the child occurred on several occasions between January and March 2024.


According to a probable cause statement, Hawai‘i Island police learned about the abuse when staff at Hilo Medical Center’s emergency department contacted them in the early morning hours on March 23. The child, who was brought in by her mother, had bruises all over her body; cuts to her lip, nose and eyebrow; several fractures; blisters consistent with burns; a concussion and was malnourished.

The probable cause statement indicates the mother and toddler were living at Saragosa’s home for six months. The child’s aunty told police the mother was in an abusive relationship and had no means of transportation. They were able to leave when the aunty picked the mother and toddler up to take them to the hospital.

Saragosa was not home at the time.


The court document states that the child’s mother told police Saragosa would get angry and hit the toddler when she cried or threw a tantrum.

The mother told police Saragosa would claim it was discipline as the child “showed no respect.” She went on to explain how she would sneak her daughter food when Saragosa would withhold food till the child showed that respect.

Saragosa was arrested not long after police made contact with the reported victims and remains in police custody.


Through the course of their investigation, police learned Saragosa had two biological sons, ages 12 and 13, who also lived in the home. They were placed into protective custody for their safety and later released to Child Welfare Services.

Two additional sons of Saragosa from a previous relationship, ages 8 and 4, who were there for a weekend visitation, were also placed into protective custody, and released to their mother.

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