FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (TCD) — A mother pleaded guilty last week to killing her young son by locking him in a closet for long periods of time and starving him to death, causing him to weigh less than 20 pounds by the time he died.
Court records show Elizabeth Archibeque changed her plea last week and entered into an agreement with Coconino County prosecutors. Originally charged with first-degree murder, two counts of child abuse, and two counts of kidnapping, Archibeque pleaded guilty to murder and child abuse. The Arizona Daily Sun reports Archibeque could face life in prison without parole for killing her son Deshaun Martinez.
Flagstaff Police responded to Archibeque’s home on the 3100 block of North Monte Vista Drive on March 2, 2020, after receiving a call about an unresponsive child. Officers attempted lifesaving measures on the child until medical personnel arrived, but they were unable to revive the boy.
Flagstaff Police said Deshaun looked malnourished, though there weren’t any clear signs of trauma on his body. Archibeque and Deshaun’s father, Anthony Martinez, “admitted that the child and his 7-year-old brother (who also appears malnourished) were kept in the bedroom closet and denied food at times.”
Archibeque and Martinez told police the boys stole food while the adults slept. They were reportedly kept in the closet for about a month. Deshaun’s grandmother, Ann Marie Martinez, reportedly “admitted she was aware of this condition the boys were kept in and admitted to disciplining the children when they stole food.”
Ann Marie and Anthony are also facing charges in connection with the boy’s death.
According to The Associated Press, Deshaun weighed only 18 pounds and was starved to death. The other brother who was reportedly kept in the closet with him survived.
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