TURLOCK, Calif. (KTXL) – An investigation is underway after students in Turlock, California, attacked and robbed a teen with special needs after school.
A video posted to social media shows one of the assailants punching 14-year-old Michael Valdez last Tuesday.
“Well, the first day when he came home and I saw him with no shoes on, my heart started breaking because he started crying and he didn’t want to, um, he didn’t want to tell me because those boys threatened him if he told that he was going to get it,” said Monica Valdez, the teen’s mother.
Michael was hit in his face and side after one of the boys punching him accused him of “ratting to someone.”
His bike and Nike Air Force Ones were stolen in the process.
All of it happened near Turlock Junior High School, where Michael, an eighth-grader, takes special education classes.
His attackers were identified by police as two fellow Turlock Junior High School students and a student from Pitman High School. According to the Turlock Unified School District, “All students involved have been identified and discipline is being administered.”
Neighbors who have known Michael since he was a baby said they were “shocked.”
“Just shocking that that would happen,” said friend Katlynn England.
Michael has since felt comfortable returning to campus.
“Michael’s doing pretty good,” his mother said. “The hard part of it’s going to try to get him outside again because he doesn’t want to go to the park and he doesn’t want to go outside.”
Monica Valdez said she has been promised a Wednesday visit from Turlock police about the attack. Officers did not return calls from KTXL about the status of an investigation that they have confirmed in various social media posts.
“I’m really hurt that this happened and nobody helped him,” Monica Valdez said. “I’d just like these parents to talk to their kids about bullying and about has anybody bullied them or are they the bully, you know, and get this stopped.”
The Valdez family has a P.O. box for anyone who would like to send Michael cards of support:
2930 Geer Rd.
PMB #180 C
Turlock, CA, 95380