Gilbert Cuhen

A 30-year-old Tucson man is facing felony child abuse charges after his girlfriend's daughter was taken to the hospital with signs of serious physical abuse.

Gilbert Cuhen turned himself into police Thursday, after leaving the state the day before when his girlfriend took her 3-year-old daughter to the hospital, said Sgt. Pete Dugan, a Tucson Police Department spokesman.

The girl's mother told police that she was at the home with Cuhen, her 3-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old girl that she shares with Cuhen, when she heard "a commotion" coming from a back room, Dugan said.

The woman went to find out what had happened and found the 3-year-old unresponsive and Cuhen in the room, Dugan said.

She began to tend to her daughter and Cuhen left the home. The woman began driving the girl to the hospital but on the way, the child's breathing became labored and the woman pulled over to call 911, Dugan said.

Tucson Fire Department paramedics arrived along with police officers, and while rendering first aid, paramedics saw external signs of physical abuse, Dugan said.

The child was transported to the hospital where doctors also found internal injuries that appeared to be consistent with child abuse, Dugan said.

The child is currently in critical and possibly life-threatening condition, Dugan said.

Detectives learned Wednesday that Cuhen may have gone to visit family in New Mexico,  and a detective with TPD's child physical abuse unit who also works as a hostage negotiator was able to get him on the phone.

Cuhen said that he'd been in contact with the Luna County Sheriff but was willing to come back and talk to Tucson police about the incident.

At the time, Cuhen was considered a person of interest but by the time he returned to Tucson and arrived at the police station, probable cause had been developed to issue a warrant for his arrest, Dugan said.

Cuhen is facing two counts of child abuse, as the girl's injuries appear to be from different dates, Dugan said.

Additional charges could be added, pending the investigation.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at or 573-4191


I'm a watchdog reporter covering local government, the University of Arizona and sports investigations.