A Surprise, Arizona, couple has been detained following the death of a 3-year-old girl on Saturday.
Carlos Cruz, 28, and Rosemary Velazco, 36, were detained on bonds of $500,000 each after their daughter, Alexandra, was found abused and unresponsive by paramedics. The girl's uncle had called 911.
According to police reports, Alexandra had various injuries on her body, including a gash on her forehead that exposed her skull, a potential broken knee, and several bruises. She weighed only 15 pounds, the equivalent of two gallons of water.
Investigators also found signs of sexual abuse. They described it as one of the worst cases of child abuse they had ever seen.
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“I don’t know who did it,” Cruz said in an interview with ABC 15, referring to the abuse allegations. Cruz did, however, admit to hitting the girl with a belt.
“My kids are gone ... I won’t see her again,” he stated later in the same interview.
The Arizona Republic reported that Department of Child Safety (DCS) workers visited the home to remove an infant from the family’s care in June 2014.
"We are trying to see what our department did during the dependency of this other child and if at any time we were aware of anything involving Alexandra," DCS director Greg McKay told the Republic. "At this point in time, there is no indication from what we've read that anyone ever saw Alexandra in this home."
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Cruz and Velazco allegedly told DCS investigators that Alexandra and her brother were "out of the country" during the 2014 visit.
Alexandra and her 6-year-old brother were previously removed from the family’s care when Alexandra was born in 2011 because both she and her mother tested positive for amphetamines. Both children were given back to Velazco and Cruz in April 2012, after they completed a parenting course.
Alexandra and her brother, who has been placed in a foster home, reportedly shared a bedroom with their parents. The door had a padlock on it which could only be locked from the outside. A paint can found in the room was believed to have been used by the children as a toilet. Authorities also found a dog collar in the room.
“People are the ones who hurt people, and they need to be brought to justice,” DCS spokesman Doug Nick said. “We are a part of that process."
As the investigation proceeds, authorities could also bring murder charges against Cruz and Velazco, ABC 15 reported.