Alexandra Tercerro, a 3-year-old girl, died on May 23, 2015, and Arizona authorities had described her death as “one of the worst cases of child abuse and neglect they had seen.” At the time of her death, the little girl weighed only 15 pounds, which is equivalent to about two gallons of water.
According to the Daily Mail, new information has emerged alleging that the state Department of Child Safety did not properly investigate Alexandra’s case, which eventually led to her death.
Investigators had found no food in the house, only beer. Police also discovered that the kids shared a room with their parents and that the room was outfitted with a padlock from the outside. A paint can that served as a toilet for the kids was found in a corner of the room
The little girl slept in a small, wobbly bed made out of scrap wood. A dog collar was found in the room despite the family not owning a dog.
Alexandra’s brother said he had seen his sister several times pick cockroaches from the floor to eat when she was hungry. The mom confessed that her husband had an “anger problem and would lose his temper with the children” and whip them with a belt.
Tercerro’s uncle, who was babysitting the kids, had called emergency services when Alexandra became unconscious just a week to her fourth birthday. Arizona police got involved because of the suspicion surrounding her death.
Police found out that the 3-year-old girl had a broken knee cap and a gash on her forehead so deep it revealed her skull. The little girl died before paramedics could get her to a hospital.
Her parents, 36-year-old Rosemary Velazco and 28-year-old Carlos Tercerro Cruz, were arrested for felony child abuse and first-degree murder, but new information alleges that if the DCS had investigated the case properly, the kids should have been taken away from their parents 11 months before the tragedy occurred.
Alexandra Tercerro was born on May 31, 2011. According to a Fatality Summary Report from the Arizona Department of Child Safety, she had methamphetamine in her system. Alexandra and her brother were taken from their Arizona home by authorities to allow their parents complete a meth treatment program in 2012. They didn’t.
In June 2014, Alexandra’s sister was born, and she also had methamphetamine in her system. The Arizona Department of Child Safety took the newborn into custody and asked for Alexandra and her brother as well. The parents lied, saying that the kids were staying with a relative in Mexico. When pressed for the exact location, they refused to budge and the DCS left it at that.
According to the Fatality Summary Report filed by a caseworker on June 27, 2014, Alexandra and her brother could not be included in a dependency request because of jurisdiction complications with Mexico.
“Mother’s other two children are in Mexico right now with their (redacted) but will return soon.”
On July 1 and July 11, the case of Alexandra and her brother was discussed, but nothing was done to confirm if the children were indeed in Mexico and if they were safe.
On July 14, during a court hearing, a judge instructed Rosemary Velazco and Carlos Tercerro Cruz to provide the whereabouts of the two children. There is nothing on the case file to suggest that the judge did anything after the parents flouted his order.
On August 6, 2014, a caseworker noted in the case file that the kids were still “residing in Mexico” and no contact address had been provided.
On August 14, 2014, the caseworker noted, “Follow up with Mexican Consulate to ensure other two siblings are safe,” but it is not confirmed if the call was ever made.
There were no unannounced visits to the parent’s house. Police were not called in by the DCS to coerce the parents into explaining where exactly the kids were staying in Mexico. This unfortunate approach was adopted by the DCS until May 23 when Alexandra was reported dead.
Alexandra and her brother never left Arizona and most times were home when DCS officials called. Velazco said she always knew when the DCS was coming and made sure she hid the kids or told whoever was babysitting them not to answer the door.
The parents deliberately avoided detection from authorities for 11 months denying the children education and medical treatment in the process.
Alexandra’s brother has been placed into foster care. At the time of her arrest in 2015, Velazco was pregnant and still using meth. Her fourth child was taken from her.
Alexandra’s parents are currently awaiting trial for abusing and beating the 3-year-old to death. Prosecutors are looking at the death penalty.
Do you think more should have been done by the DCS to protect Alexandra Tercerro?
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