In August 2011, after she was arrested and accused of child abuse, Regina Marquez went on a local television station to brand the allegations -- about, among other things, broken bones, malnourishment that may have stunted the young girl's growth, and claims that they regularly locked her in the bathroom -- as "ridiculous."
Apparently not. Two years later, Marquez and her partner, Deanna Martinez, have both pleaded guilty to child abuse charges. Get details and see photos and a police report below.
According to the arrest affidavit for Martinez, an officer had first been assigned to check into the welfare of the girl in 2009 following a check-up that had found "unexplained hair loss, a bruise on her eye, lack of growth and developmental delays, in addition to a broken left arm. However, physicians didn't express undue alarm about the injury to her arm, which Marquez said happened after the child had fallen down some stairs while holding a box of Legos, and decided that the hair loss was medical in nature. As a result, no charges were filed against either Martinez or Marquez, the girl's aunt, who'd adopted her due to issues with the child's biological mother.
Things changed in March 2011, after a pediatrician with the Family Crisis Center of Denver Health Authority determined that the girl's arm was deformed as a result of a poor healing process. Moreover, doctors back in 2009 hadn't examined her hand, which turned out to have been broken -- and she had never attended school in part because she "walked oddly," talked poorly and was not sufficiently toilet trained despite being six years old.
The discoveries prompted an investigation that stretched over several months, and in July, the girl herself was interviewed; she was able to communicate despite looking as if she was two years old, not six. During the conversation, she revealed that she would regularly be locked in her bedroom or the bathroom -- she was reportedly fed some meals in the latter. She added about Martinez, "She broke my arm real hard."
Before long, both Marquez and Martinez were arrested on child abuse charges -- and while still in custody, Marquez told 7News the accusations were "ridiculous." She admitted to perhaps not being able to look after the girl to the degree she might have wanted because she was working so hard, but stressed, "I think I'm being falsely accused of things I did not do."
As for those broken fingers, she said the girl had slammed them in a car door, but she thought there were fine because she didn't cry and had been able to move them.
Such protests of innocence are now a thing of the past. Both Martinez and Marquez have pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, with the former facing up to sixteen years in prison and the latter in line for a sentence that could max out at eight years behind bars. They'll learn their fates during court dates in September and October, respectively.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Look below to see large versions of their booking photos, followed by the aforementioned arrest affidavit.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "John Vigil pleads guilty to fatal child abuse case after years in mental hospital."