Woman says she purposely dropped child to 'teach her a lesson'

Dignailis Estrella. (Woonsocket Police Department)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) - A 26-year-old woman was arrested after she told her incarcerated ex-boyfriend she purposely dropped her 5-year-old child to “teach her a lesson.”

Police said Dignailis Estrella, of Johnston, was charged with first-degree child abuse and arraigned on Monday.

An unidentified incarcerated man, who is an inmate at the ACI's high-security center in Cranston, told authorities that he received a call from Estrella, saying she had punished their daughter after a family argument.

“(She) told him that the daughter picked up their infant child and dropped her by accident, so to teach her a lesson, (she said) she picked up her daughter and dropped her,” a police report notes.

The report goes on to note that Estrella said the girl “cried in pain until she took her to the hospital where she suffered a broken arm from the fall.”

The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families reported that it obtained a recorded copy of the conversation, adding that that the incident occurred in March. DCYF also said it planned to obtain custody of Estrella's children.

Joanne Waite, who works with victims of child abuse at Day One in Providence, said the child's father made the right decision in reporting the mother of his children.

“He was thinking about his child and it's about the child. We're their voice,” Waite said.

“When we're thinking about teaching a lesson, teaching involves role modeling and being able to talk to that person and doing something as opposed to physically putting your hands on someone,” Waite added.

Estrella, who was convicted of assault in 2010, is being held without bail as a probation violator. She is due back in court March 2 for a pre-arraignment conference.

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