#6-year-old kept in a closet for a month died weighing 18 pounds

#6-year-old kept in a closet for a month died weighing 18 pounds

June 10, 2020 | 8:47am

A 6-year-old boy who was locked in a closet and deprived of food weighed just 18 pounds when he died in March, an autopsy has found.

Deshaun Martinez’s parents, Elizabeth Archibeque and Anthony Martinez, allegedly admitted to police that they kept Deshaun and his 7-year-old brother in a closet in their Flagstaff, Arizona apartment for 16 hours a day for a month — and gave them little to eat.

An autopsy report determined that Deshaun died of starvation and listed the manner of death as a homicide.

His parents and his grandmother, Ann Martinez, were charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and child abuse shortly after the boy was found unresponsive in early March. They have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors have until late July to decide whether they will seek capital punishment in the case.

The boys were punished because they stole food while their parents slept, police said.

Archibeque and Anthony Martinez initially attributed Deshaun’s malnourished state to a medical condition and to taking diet or caffeine pills.

His medical history showed he had trouble gaining weight after he was hospitalized at two weeks old due to sepsis and a urinary tract infection that resulted in fevers and vomiting at every feed.

Anthony Martinez (left) and Elizabeth Archibeque
Anthony Martinez (left) and Elizabeth ArchibequeCoconino County Sheriff’s Office

When he was discharged from the hospital, his parents were advised on how to keep him at a healthy weight.

Deshaun weighed 34 pounds at age 4 but then dropped to 27 pounds a year later. He was just 18 pounds when he died — the same weight he was at age 1.

The autopsy report noted Deshaun had brittle hair, sunken eyes and almost no body fat. He also had abrasions and bruises on his body that were not life-threatening.

His father said the family was on a budget and was awaiting food stamps to buy more food for Deshaun.

The boy’s surviving siblings, ages 2, 4 and 7, were taken into custody by the Arizona Department of Child Safety, according to AZ Central.

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