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Alleged threat against witness

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WORCESTER- The mother accused of abusing her 2-year-old son and who was released on personal recognizance this week was re-arrested yesterday by detectives for allegedly intimidating a witness in the case, police said last night.

Frances Ortiz, 29, of 69 Harrison St., Apt. 2, was arrested on a warrant by Detective Donna M. Brissette of the Special Crimes Division about 3:40 p.m. at the police station and held last night on $10,000 cash bail, said Sgt. Arthur M. Rose of the Service Division. She is to be arraigned today in Central District Court.

"Immediately after her release, she located and threatened a witness in the investigation," Sgt. Rose said.

Ms. Ortiz was arrested Friday on a charge of assault and battery on a child causing substantial injury, after being interviewed by detectives about injuries suffered Aug. 13 by her 2-year-old son, one of three siblings now in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families.

Officials at UMass Memorial Medical Center - University Campus alerted police to the child's multiple injuries last week.

Judge Vito A. Virzi in Central District Court heard testimony Monday of the alleged abuse of the toddler and Ms. Ortiz experiencing periods of "anger and rage" as a single mother of three children and taking medication to keep herself calm. He set bail of $5,000 cash, or $50,000 with surety, and continued Ms. Ortiz's case to Sept. 16. He ordered that she have no contact with her son in the event she made bail.

Later in the day, Ms. Ortiz sought a bail reduction hearing before Judge C.J. Moriarty. After hearing arguments by Assistant District Attorney William E. Loughlin and lawyer Lynne S. Martin, the judge placed Ms. Ortiz on pretrial probation and released her on personal recognizance.

As conditions of her release, Mr. Ortiz was ordered to report to the Probation Department twice weekly, undergo random drug and alcohol testing, and have no contact with her children except for supervised visits allowed under a Department of Children and Families service plan.
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