Failed to Death: Rosalia Garcia-Quintana

4:20 PM, Nov 11, 2012   |    comments
Rosalia Garcia-Quintana
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Age: 4 yrs.
Born: Dec 6, 2002
Died: Oct 30, 2007
Location: La Junta
Suspect in death: Salvador Quintana, father; Carmen Guerra, stepmother

Rosalia Garcia-Quintana died in her La Junta home of infection on Oct. 30, 2007 two and a half weeks after an anonymous caller reported to the Otero County Department of Social Services that Rosalia was being abused. An autopsy showed she also had pneumonia, was malnourished and had numerous bruises, abrasions and infected skin ulcers on her body.

Social workers had twice gone to the home where Rosalia lived with her father, Salvador Quintana and his girlfriend, Carmen Guerra Marquez, to investigate the reported abuse. No one answered the door. The complaint was determined to be unfounded after Salvador Quintana called social workers to say that he had taken Rosalia to Texas with him to visit his ill father.

There had been other reports of abuse of Rosalia prior to her death. Two occurred in 2004 but details of those reports and any actions taken are not available because the reports do not pertain to the death. Five months before Rosalia's death there was a report that she had been abused while living with her biological mother. That report was determined to be unfounded.

The Colorado Department of Human Services found that case workers did not take the proper actions in the case because they did not complete a face-to-face interview with the victim and her siblings instead of relying on the father's word. They also did not assess the condition of the other children in the home.

Salvador Quintana, was sentenced to 26 years in prison after pleading guilty to negligent child abuse resulting in death. Carmen Guerra Marquez pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury and was sentenced to six years in prison.

In imposing the sentences, District Judge Michael Schiferl told the court that Rosalia's death represented "a tremendous failure" of the system that was meant to protect her.

"The department of social services was given notice of a problem and doesn't do anything?" the judge said.

Read the Fatality Review

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