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Police say obese relative murdered toddler

/ Source: The Associated Press

A morbidly obese woman who authorities originally thought might have crushed her 2-year-old nephew to death was arraigned in her bedroom Wednesday on a capital murder charge, accused of striking him in the head.

Mayra Lizbeth Rosales, who weighs at least 800 pounds, had told police that she slipped and hit the boy's head with her hand and that he fell from a chair. But investigators said the boy died of two blows to the head. The autopsy also found skull fractures that were estimated to be about a month old.

The 27-year-old bedridden woman was photographed and fingerprinted at her La Joya home before being released on a personal recognizance bond, Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said.

Rosales' sister and the boy's mother, Jamie Lee Rosales, was arrested on a charge of injury to a child, accused of failing to protect the boy. She was being held on $50,000 bond. A capital murder conviction could carry a possible sentence of life in prison or the death penalty.

Safety plan
The 20-year-old mother had signed a safety plan in April with Child Protective Services that advised her not to leave her children with her sister because of the woman's disability, according to charging documents.

A woman who answered the phone at Mayra Rosales' home and wouldn't give her name said the family would have no comment. Authorities had no attorney contact information for the sisters.

Eliseo Gonzalez Jr. and his two younger siblings had been left in the sole supervision of Mayra Rosales, authorities say.

Less than two hours later, Mayra Rosales phoned her sister to say that Eliseo had gotten stuck under her bed and his head was swollen, according to the charging documents. Eliseo was removed from life support and declared dead that afternoon.

Bobby Contreras, Hidalgo County justice of the peace, said last week that investigators believed the woman had fallen on the child.