Mom sentenced for role in death of 20-month-old daughter

LEESBURG, Va. (WUSA9) – This week, a mother was sentenced to eight years in prison in the death of her 20-month-old daughter.

The daughter of 32-year-old Vanesa Patricio Cruz of Sterling died in 2005. Cruz pleaded no contest to a charge of voluntary manslaughter on January 16, 2014.

According to authorities, Cruz and her boyfriend brought the lifeless body of her daughter to a fire station in South Riding in the late summer of 2005 seeking help. Emergency personnel were unable to revive the girl.

An autopsy revealed that the child suffered head trauma, rib fractures, and showed signs of prior brain injury, say officials.

During an interview with police in 2012, Cruz acknowledged that she had picked up her daughter "hard" when she was "desperate and angry." Police say she also admitted to hitting her daughter with a remote control.

Officials say that Cruz, a native of Mexico but living in Sterling, is in the United States illegally. According to a statement from the Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney Office, "Although an additional two years of suspended penitentiary time was also imposed, a federal immigration detainer has been placed on Cruz to ensure her removal from the country upon the completion of her eight year sentence."


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