A 6-year-old Arizona boy weighed just 18 pounds and was in a “non-life-sustaining state of starvation,” when he died in March after allegedly being locked in a closet by his parents and grandmother, according to an autopsy report.
Deshaun Martinez was found lying unresponsive on the living room floor of his Arizona home in March after authorities say he had been locked in a closet along with his 7-year-old brother and deprived of food, KSAZ-TV reports.
He was later pronounced dead at the scene, according to a release from Flagstaff police obtained by Oxygen.com.
The autopsy, which was recently released by the medical examiner, determined Deshaun died from starvation and listed the manner of death as homicide, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.
Deshaun’s parents Elizabeth Archibeque and Anthony Martinez, along with his grandmother, Ann Marie Martinez, are all facing charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child abuse in connection with the death.
All three have pleaded not guilty to the allegations against them.
Medical Examiner Lawrence Czarnecki described Deshaun’s gaunt appearance in the autopsy, writing that the young boy had almost no body fat and looked like a skeleton because his skin was just stretched over his bones.
Czarnecki also noted Deshaun had dark circles around his sunken eyes and brittle hair due to the lack of nourishment. He was also covered in non-life-threatening bruises and abrasions.
Deshaun’s parents initially told investigators that the young boy weighed so little because he had a medical condition and said he had taken diet or caffeine pills, the local paper reports.
However, authorities said the couple later admitted to keeping Deshaun and his older brother in a closet for up to 16 hours a day.
“Both admit that the two boys were kept in the closet because they were stealing food, by sneaking out at night when the parents slept,” police said at the time of the arrests.
The autopsy also revealed that Deshaun had a past history of struggling to gain weight. At just two weeks old, he had been hospitalized with sepsis and a urinary tract infection and was vomiting after feedings.
Deshaun’s parents were given information on how to keep him healthy before he was released from the hospital.
By 4 years old, Deshaun had weighed 34 pounds but by the next year, his weight had dropped to 27 pounds. It continued to decline until his death.
At the time of the arrests, Sgt. Charles M. Hernandez II of the Flagstaff Police Department told Oxygen.com that the 7-year-old brother—who had also looked malnourished—was taken to a local medical center for treatment.
Two younger siblings, a 4-year-old and 2-year-old, “did not exhibit signs of malnourishment,” Hernandez said.
All three surviving children were later placed into the custody of the Department of Child Safety.
As Ann Marie Martinez was being booked into the Coconino County jail, she denied doing anything wrong, according to The Associated Press.
“I’m a law-abiding citizen just trying to help grandkids not be in the streets,” she said in a jail video seen by the news outlet.
The young boy’s father had tried to resist arrest and arrived at the jail handcuffed, restrained at the ankles and sitting in a wheelchair. He can be seen on video shouting profanities at officers.
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