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Texas Couple Charged With Murder After Severely Malnourished Girl, 8, Dies Weighing Just 29 Pounds, Police Say

child neglect case
Source: Houston Police Department

May 25 2022, Published 8:39 a.m. ET

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A Texas couple was accused of murder in connection to the death of an 8-year-old girl who weighed around 29 pounds when she died in December 2020.

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On May 20, authorities in Houston placed Ruben Moreno and Soledad Mendoza, both 29, under arrest and charged them each with one count of capital murder of a child under 10 years of age and two counts of injury to a child, KPRC-TV reported.

Mendoza was being held on a $3 million bond, while a judge denied Moreno bond for the capital murder charge but held him in lieu of $2 million bond for the other two counts.

According to police, officers performing a wellbeing check at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center on Dec. 20, 2020, learned Houston Fire Department paramedics transported an 8-year-old girl to the hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

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Court documents obtained by KPRC-TV show investigators noted the unkempt child appeared extremely malnourished and only weighed around 29 pounds. She also had suffered swollen ankles, and bruising on her legs.

An autopsy conducted on the little girl showed she had multiple fractured ribs and her back and legs showed signs of acute and chronic blunt force injuries, the station reported.


The autopsy also determined the child had multiple injuries, such as fractures, to other parts of her body, including her upper and lower body, head and torso.

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The young alleged abuse victim was survived by a twin sister, who weighed 26.4 pounds and was receiving medical care, as well as two siblings, who were both healthy, according to KPRC-TV.

In February 2021, two months after the girl’s death, court documents show that her sister alleged to detectives that the twins’ mother, Mendoza, would make her get inside a trash bag, telling the child, “It’s because you’re ugly and I don’t love you.”

The girl claimed her mother killed her sibling and that Moreno, her mother’s boyfriend, would hit her and her twin sister daily, court documents state.

Moreno and Mendoza had one child together, according to reports.

The three surviving children were placed in foster care.


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