Police charge woman in slaying of toddler

Relates to:
Date: 1999-10-07

Christina Pino-Marina
El Paso Times

An East Side woman was arrested Wednesday and faces capital murder charges for allegedly killing her 18-month-old daughter by fracturing her skull, police said.

Martha J. Melendez, 24, of the 3300 block of East Glen, was arrested Wednesday and accused of killing her daughter, Breianna Melendez. Police said Breianna suffered a severe head injury and died of a fractured skull. The home is a few blocks east of Lee Trevi?o Drive and just south of Edgemere Boulevard.

"The mother called EMS (Tuesday night) and reported the child had fallen and appeared injured," Police spokesman Sgt. Al Velarde said Wednesday. "The child was taken to Thomason (Hospital) for treatment and died later in the night."

Velarde said the mother first told officers the child fell out of her arms when she was getting into the shower with her daughter. But an autopsy later Wednesday afternoon showed the fractured skull and "indicated evidence that the child had suffered previous head injuries," he said.

"Detectives have determined the child's mother was responsible for the baby's death," Velarde said, but the investigation continues. No bond was set by late Wednesday.

Martha Melendez bowed her head and sniffled Wednesday night as she was led by police from their headquarters on Raynor Street to be driven to the County Jail. No bond was posted, police Sgt. Pete Ocegueda said.

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