Mother Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse and Murder Charges in Arizona


The boy was locked in a closet and denied food by his mother, leading to his tragic death.

Mother Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse
Mother Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse ( Photo: NBC News )

An Arizona mother, Elizabeth Archibeque, has pleaded guilty to child abuse and murder charges after her 6-year-old son, Deshaun Martinez, died of starvation in March 2020

Archibeque reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and is scheduled to be sentenced during the summer. The case involved three defendants: Archibeque, the boy’s father, Anthony Martinez, and his grandmother, Ann Martinez. All three were charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, and child abuse, but their cases were tried separately. Both Anthony and Ann had previously entered not-guilty pleas.

Under the terms of her plea agreement, Archibeque will not be eligible for probation. If sentenced to life in prison, she will also be ineligible for parole or work release. The coroner determined that Deshaun died of starvation after being found unresponsive in the family’s Flagstaff apartment. At the time of his death, he weighed only 18 pounds.

According to arrest records, Deshaun and his 7-year-old brother were confined to a closet for approximately 16 hours a day. Authorities responded to a 911 call reporting an unresponsive child and discovered Deshaun lying on the floor, while his sibling was still locked in the closet.

Archibeque and Anthony claimed that the children would steal food at night and that Deshaun had a medical condition

They also alleged that he had taken stolen diet pills. However, the boy’s emaciated state and the presence of bruises and abrasions on his body suggested severe neglect and abuse.

Deshaun’s sibling and two other children found in the home were malnourished but not to the same extent. The 7-year-old brother was placed in the custody of the Department of Child Safety along with the younger children. An autopsy revealed that Deshaun had historically struggled to gain weight, but his condition worsened over time.

The Department of Child Safety (DCS) had previously received reports of abuse allegations involving one of the siblings, but they were unsubstantiated. DCS expressed their condolences and assured the public that the surviving children were under their care and receiving necessary services.

This tragic case highlights the importance of reporting child abuse and neglect to ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable children.


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