Law & Order Briefs

2013-03-20T00:00:00Z Law & Order BriefsKim Smith and Veronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Mom of tot who died had contact with CPS

Child Protective Services workers had prior contact with the mother of an 18-month-old twin girl who died Friday of injuries that police said were caused by repeated physical abuse.

Monique Gaxiola, 30, and Kristepher Benavidez, 25, are now facing first-degree murder charges in connection with the death of their daughter, Adyson Gallegos.

The pair were arrested last week on suspicion of child abuse but the charges were upgraded after the toddler died.

A brief CPS report said Adyson was taken to the University of Arizona Medical Center last Wednesday after she stopped breathing.

She was found to have blood coming from her ears, bite marks on both arms and right foot, scratches on her neck and bruising on her face and elsewhere on her body, according to the CPS report.

Last Wednesday, Tucson Fire Department personnel were called to a home in the 5200 block of South Newcastle Court, near South Midvale Park Road, on reports of a child not breathing.

While fire personnel took Adyson to the hospital, police discovered her twin and a 7-year-old sister at a neighbor's home.

The older child appeared uninjured, but both twin girls had suffered "injuries that appeared nonaccidental," Sgt. Chris Widmer, a Tucson police spokesman, said last week.

Detectives determined that the father had been physically abusing the twin sisters for an unknown period of time and the mother was aware of the abuse, Widmer said at the time.

According to the CPS report, state child welfare workers had received a prior report alleging abuse or neglect of Adyson by Gaxiola.

Information was not immediately available from CPS on that case.

Arizona Daily Star

3 burglars caught in the act, police say

Three people were arrested as they left a midtown home they had just burglarized, Tucson police said Tuesday.

The three are believed to have been responsible for at least three other burglaries, police said.

Merced V. Lopez, 30, Heather Lopez, 32, and Christopher Guzman, 26, are each facing one count of burglary. Additional charges are pending, according to a news release from Tucson police.

Tucson police said on March 5 a homeowner in the 5600 block of North Wilshire Drive, near East Broadway and South Craycroft Road, reported he returned home and saw a man carrying items from his house into a waiting pickup truck. The burglars drove away, but the homeowner was able to get the truck's license plate number.

On March 13, detectives were following up leads in the case and went to a home in the 6900 block of East Kingston Drive, near East Broadway and North Kolb Road, police said.

Detectives located the pickup truck from the March 5 incident and detained its three occupants. Detectives learned the three had just burglarized the home they were seen leaving, police said.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for the residence of the three in the 1100 block of South Duquesne, near East 22nd Street and South Kolb Road, and found property from two other burglaries, including items stolen from a neighbor's home on Jan. 28 and items stolen from a home in the 1800 block of Augusta Circle on March 4, police said.

Arizona Daily Star

Tucson woman, 63, killed in crash

A 63-year-old Tucson woman died Monday night after a one-vehicle crash on West Ajo Way near South Mission Road.

Janet L. Blair was driving west on Ajo Way in the curb lane about 7:40 p.m. when her 2000 Dodge Intrepid suddenly jerked to the right, went over a curb and struck a light pole, Sgt. Chris Widmer said in a Tucson police news release.

Blair was taken to a hospital after the crash and died a short time later, Widmer said.

Kim Smith

Woman who robbed 2 banks is sentenced

A woman involved in two bank robberies in June 2012 was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Melissa Ann Green, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery. She was originally indicted on two counts of burglary in the third degree, and one count each of armed robbery and robbery.

Green robbed the Tucson Healthcare Affiliates Federal Credit Union, 5280 E. Grant Road, on June 18 and Bank of the West Financial Institution, 7901 E. Speedway, on June 20, by giving tellers notes demanding money and threatening harm.

An 88-CRIME tipster identified Green as the suspect in the robberies.

Green told police her ex-boyfriend, Shad Thompson, and his new wife, Tamara Dulaney-Thompson, pressured her to commit the robberies to pay off drug debts, the documents said.

Green also pleaded guilty to one count of forgery for an unrelated incident in which she tried to cash a fraudulent check; she was sentenced to four years' probation.

Veronica M. Cruz

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