Elizabeth Archibeque, along with the father Anthony Martinez and grandmother Ann Martinez, had been charged in the tragic death of Deshaun Martinez. An autopsy showed that the little boy had been starved and weighed only 18 pounds – far below an average weight for his age.
Archibeque agreed to a plea deal that specified her eligibility for probation or any type of parole or work release was removed from the sentence should she receive life in prison. Initially, the Suarez-Martinez family stated that Deshaun’s malnourishment was caused by a medical condition, along with the ingestion of diet or caffeine pills.
In a harrowing discovery, the Phoenix Police Department uncovered that Deshaun and his brother were confined in a closet for up to 16 hours a day, and were only given a small amount of food for sustenance. Thankfully, the elder sibling was able to survive the inhumane conditions. Later, it was revealed that the boys had been punished with food deprivation for theft – taking food while the parents were asleep.
This incident is a wake-up call of the importance of recognizing child abuse. We all have an obligation to learn how to spot warning signs and report to the proper authorities when needed. Parents must also become aware of the dangers their actions may cause, and be mindful of providing proper nourishment and care for their children.