1. Couple withheld food from five-year-old daughter before she died weighing 10kg.
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) May 1, 2017
On the day their five-year-old adopted daughter died, Estevan Garcia and Sacora Horn-Garcia allegedly sent texts to each other debating whether they should seek medical help, The Oregonian reports.
Maliyha Hope Garcia was found unconscious in the couple’s home in Oregon, USA, on December 22, 2016. Four months later, Garcia, 34, and 31-year-old Horn-Garcia were charged with her murder after they allegedly intentionally withheld food from the young girl.
Court documents state the couple spent the morning of Maliyha’s death debating whether they should take her to the hospital for help.
“Would you feel scared taking her in to urgent care most likely they would just swab her nose to see if she has the flu,” Garcia wrote. When Horn-Garcia expressed her concern, he added, “urgent care is always less professorial like there doctors are always laid back (sic).”
“Alright. I think she def needs to go in today,” Horn-Garcia wrote, with her husband suggesting they take their other kids “to show they are healthy”.
But Maliyha was never taken to hospital, and two hours later, she was found unconscious. Her body was stiff and her lips were blue.
The five-year-old weighed just 10kg at the time of her death, and an autopsy ruled she died from emaciation.
Redmond Police officer Jered Kirk noted in his report that her “arms and legs looked like bones with skin hanging on them” and that “every one of her ribs was visible”.
Garcia had adopted Maliyha, his niece, when she was just three months old after her mother lost custody due to a methamphetamine addiction. Court documents allege Garcia and his wife – who he married two years after adopting Maliyha – regularly abused the girl, withholding food as a form of punishment.
The couple are currently in custody and are due to enter their pleas on June 12.