A 24-year-old Chicago woman has been charged with first-degree murder after beating her three-year-old daughter to death.
According to reports, Maria Espinoza-Perez called police to report that her home had been broken into and the suspects had injured her daughter. When emergency services arrived, they found three-year-old Ashley Mendoza unresponsive and pronounced her dead at the scene.
When officers examined the home, they found blood in the bathroom and in a bedroom, but interestingly enough, there was no blood on the floor in the living room where Mendoza was found. Police say there were no signs of a break in, and the young girl had injuries on her head, hands, and back. She was also missing teeth.
When Espinoza-Perez was brought in for questioning, she admitted to making up the initial story of the break in and said she had been beating her daughter for years.
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Friends and neighbors say that Espinoza-Perez and her husband yelled at each other often, but they weren’t aware that the young girl was involved in any way.
“There was a lot of yelling, but it was mostly between the husband and wife,” said neighbor Anita Padilla, adding that Espinoza Perez’s husband seemed to be a good father. “When he would leave every day [for work], she would stand by the window, and he would stand by the car blowing kisses and giving air hugs.”
Espinoza-Perez is reportedly separated from her husband, and family members say they are in shock by the gruesome murder.
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"We are all surprised,” said Juan Gonzalez, a brother-in-law. “We can't believe it.”
Espinoza-Perez was arrested and has been charged with first-degree murder.