FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — An Arizona mother has pleaded guilty to murder and child abuse charges stemming from the death of her 6-year-old son who had been locked in a closet and denied food.
Elizabeth Archibeque reached a plea agreement with prosecutors this month, the Arizona Daily Sun reported Saturday.
Archibeque will be sentenced later this summer. The terms of the plea agreement state that she will not be eligible for probation, and if sentenced to life in prison, she will not be eligible for any kind of parole or work release.
She was charged along with the boy’s father, Anthony Martinez, and grandmother, Ann Martinez. The cases were being tried separately.
An autopsy found the boy, Deshaun Martinez, died of starvation in March 2020. Authorities had said he weighed just 18 pounds — well below average for his age.
The boy’s parents initially attributed their son’s malnourished state to a medical condition and to ingesting diet or caffeine pills. Eventually, they told police they kept Deshaun and his older brother in a closet for 16 hours a day and gave them little to eat. The brother survived.
Police said the boys’ confinement was punishment for stealing food while the parents slept.