18-month-old girl dead; Modesto babysitter arrested

6:20 PM, Feb 9, 2012   |    comments
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Maria Elena Torres

MODESTO, CA - A Modesto babysitter is charged with murder after an 18-month-old girl died while in the woman's care, according to Modesto Police.

Modesto police officers responded to a call of an unresponsive child at a home in the 1200 block of Marseille Lane in Modesto Tuesday around 2:10 p.m.

"When officers responded they located a child that was not breathing. They immediately began CPR until the paramedics arrived," police spokesperson Lt. Rick Armendariz said.

The child, Alexandra Medina-Cisneros, was then transported to a local hospital, where she died from her injuries. Medina-Cisneros suffered external and internal injuries, Armendariz said.

Initially, babysitter Maria Torres, 31, told police the child fell down a flight of stairs at her apartment complex.

"As she was telling the version to the officers, the officers began to find some discrepancies in her story and the fact that the injuries were not necessarily consistent with how it was described by the babysitter," Armendariz said.

Officers became concerned and called investigators who then began a suspicious death investigation. During the investigation, detectives were able to gather evidence connecting Torres to the child's death, Armendariz said.

Neighbor Shayna Britton did not see the alleged incident with the toddler, but said Torres' children are always playing on the breezeway.

"I used to see her down at the corner store, see her at the laundry room," Britton said.

Torres was arrested Wednesday and booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center for murder.

"We still have a lot more questions than we do answers, but we are confident that Mrs. Torres is responsible for the death of the toddler," Armendariz said.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to call Modesto police at (209) 572-9534 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Just type "TIP704" along with your message.


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