WARNING: This story contains graphic material not suitable for all readers

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – He spanked her.

He admitted that. She was supposed to be ready and waiting for the bus to go to school. But there she was, playing in her room. On top of that, the laces to the shoes she had not put on yet were all tied in knots. He couldn’t get them untied.

And he spanked her.

The bright red handprint on the girl’s face?

That wasn’t him. That had to be his 18-month-old son. The boy probably did that.

Mattiello

That’s the story 34-year-old Daniel Raymond Mattiello gave to an Allen County Police detective last year after the girl showed up to school with a handprint emblazoned on the cheek of her face – a handprint a doctor later said in Allen Superior court documents could only come from an adult and was indicative of abuse.

Allen County Prosecutors formally charged Mattiello with neglect of a dependent causing bodily injury Tuesday, issuing a warrant for his arrest in the process.

The girl, whose age was not given, arrived at her school on Oct. 7 and told a teacher in court documents that “Daddy hit me.” She then removed her face mask to show the teacher the large red handprint, court documents said.

When taken to a school counselor, the girl said Mattiello, her legal guardian, hit her for having knots in her shoes. The Department of Child Services was then contacted, photographs were taken and caseworkers became involved, according to court documents.

A few days later the girl was taken to the doctor who later told investigators it was the handprint of an adult.

At some point after discovering the injury, the school guidance counselor spoke with the girl to make sure she was doing okay. The girl told the counselor Mattiello and her mother said she should tell investigators she received the injury from playing in the grass, according to court documents.

The girl also told the counselor she was “not allowed to say what happened that day,” according to court documents.

During a forensic exam, the girl gave multiple accounts of how she received the injury, including that she was hit by another child in her classroom and also by her little brother, court documents said.

When interviewed by the detective three weeks after the girl turned up with the injury, Mattiello denied slapping her. That’s when he admitted to spanking her, and also that he believed his toddler son slapped the girl.

The detective went over the medical report that showed that was impossible, but Mattiello maintained that his son could have caused the girl’s injury.

He ended the interview with the detective shortly afterward.

It is not clear if Mattiello has been booked into Allen County Jail as of yet.