Houston Man Receives Two Life Sentences of Torturing Children

Houston Man Receives Two Life Sentences of Torturing Children
Victor Prado

A Houston man was sentenced to two life terms in prison this week for severely abusing two small children by beating them, restraining them with zip ties and withholding food in 2019 and 2020, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

“Our children are our most valuable resource and our most vulnerable victims,” Ogg said. “This man intentionally tortured two little kids and now, hopefully, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.”

Victor Prado, 45, worked in a southwest Houston commercial office building as the owner of a moving company.

He was dating a woman with two children, ages 3 and 4, and let them live in the building. Prado was supposed to be watching the children while their mother went to her job.

In May 2020, caseworkers with Child Protective Services investigating allegations about the children removed them from their mother’s custody and took them to Texas Children’s Hospital. The Houston Police Department then investigated.

Jurors heard evidence during the six-day trial that the little boy, who was almost 5 years old, was severely malnourished and weighed just 32 pounds. Medical personnel testified that he looked like a skeleton. He had multiple broken bones in various stages of healing and permanent brain-tissue loss.

They also heard from witnesses that the girl had been beaten and had several blunt-force trauma injuries, including broken ribs and a severe intestinal injury. She also had bed sores.

Both children had broken pelvises, an injury that is typically seen only in children who are in car crashes. They also had ligature marks on their hands, wrists, ankles and feet that left permanent scars.

Doctors examining the children classified their injuries as “child torture,” which is defined in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma as: “At least two physical assaults, occurring over at least two incidents or a single extended incident, which would cause prolonged physical pain, emotional distress, bodily injury or death AND at least two elements of psychological abuse such as isolation, intimidation, emotional/psychological maltreatment, terrorizing, spurning or deprivation.”

On Monday, a judge sentenced Prado to two life terms in prison after a Harris County jury convicted him of two counts of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury, a first-degree felony.

Assistant District Attorney Ashlea Sheridan, who is a chief in the DA’s Juvenile Division, and Danielle Oxford, who is a chief in the DA’s Crimes Against Children Division, prosecuted Prado.

“At a time in their lives when they should have been shown love and affection, these two children were shown violence and fear — they’ve lost their innocence,” Sheridan said. “They will have to live the rest of their lives with the effects of what this man did to them, and so should he.”

The 45-year-old Prado must serve at least 30 years in prison before he will be eligible for parole. The two life sentences will run concurrently.