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Failed to Death: Maria Macias

7:51 PM, Nov 11, 2012   |    comments
Maria Macias
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 PDF Document: arrest affidavit macias  PDF Document: fatality macias

Age: 4 days
Born: March 31, 2008
Died: April 4, 2008
Location: Grand Junction
Suspect in death: Lonnie Herrera, mother's boyfriend

She was 4 days old when she died, unable to survive despite an emergency cesarean section performed after a boyfriend shot and killed her mother, Anna Marie Macias, 23.

Two days before her birth, caseworkers from Mesa County Human Services chose not to investigate claims that Macias was regularly beaten by her boyfriend, Lonnie Herrera.

The report, from one of Macias' other children to officials at her school, was far from the first complaint Human Services had received about Macias and Herrera.

As a result of those earlier investigations, Macias' three oldest children were removed from her custody and placed in the care of their grandmother, according to a state and county review of Maria's death. The children drifted between two homes and were still moving back and forth as another child was born, and Macias became pregnant with Maria.

Maria died in April 2008, weeks after Macias told an intoxicated Herrera she wanted to leave him, according to an arrest warrant. She told deputies he stalked her as she carried her 1-year-old son through the home. He punched her back and pummeled her face with a closed fist. Macias' then-8-year-old daughter told someone at school, who alerted Human Services, as required.

When caseworkers went to investigate, they could not locate Herrera or Macias and believed the two were in Durango, according to the review. Without a police report, caseworkers did not open an investigation.

Herrera shot and killed Macias two days later in Grand Junction.

The gunshot wound to Macias' neck decreased blood flow to Maria, cutting off oxygen to the developing fetus. After four days on life support, Maria died April 4, 2008. She was named after she died.

The decision not to investigate the 8-year-old's claims of abuse was the last in a series of rule violations by caseworkers. Violations included failing to review records and not providing information to school officials after they reported the abuse.

Caseworkers were wrong to place three of Maria's siblings in the care of their grandmother, who was not properly evaluated in her abilities as a caregiver, the state review determined.

Later that year, in response to Maria's death, the county department created an "instruction manual" to help caseworkers understand state rules.

Herrera was charged with second-degree murder. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to at least 96 years in prison.

Read the Arrest Affidavit

Read the Fatality Review

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