Grandmother Sentenced in Cover-Up of 3-Year-Old's Slaying - NBC Southern California
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Grandmother Sentenced in Cover-Up of 3-Year-Old's Slaying

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    Woman Sentenced for Covering Up Granddaughter's Killing

    A judge sentenced a grandmother to jail for trying to cover-up the suspicious death of her 3-year-old granddaughter. Lolita Lopez reports for the NBC4 News on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (Published Tuesday, April 23, 2019)

    An Oxnard woman was sentenced Tuesday to 180 days in jail in the cover-up of the killing of her 3-year-old granddaughter whose remains have never been found.

    Maria De Jesus Lopez was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to destroy and conceal evidence, prosecutors said.

    She was accused of conspiring with her daughter, Mayra Alejandra Chavez and her daughter's boyfriend, Omar Misael Lopez, to conceal the death of 3-year-old Kimberly Lopez. Kimberly died from child abuse inflicted on her by her mother in June 2015.

    Kimberly faced challenges from the start. Born with methamphetamine in her system, she was placed in foster care, prosecutors said. The smiling baby girl took visits to the beach and pictures with Santa, but when the baby returned to her mother and the baby's father the abuse started, prosecutors said.

    Pictures show Kimberly with bruises and marks from her head to her toes as she went in and out of protective custody, according to documents reviewed by the NBC4 I-Team.

    In 2015, just after her 3rd birthday, Kimberly died. "It's a tragic case. It's gruesome. It's awful," Ron Bamieh, an attorney representing Lopez. "Ms. Lopez's mistake is trying to help her daughter." Her daughter, Chavez, was convicted of second-degree murder in December. Her boyfriend and the baby's father, Omar Lopez, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for his testimony against the mother.

    Prosecutors say the couple killed Kimberly and drove to Tijuana and the grandmother knew all about it.

    "It was the first person they contacted and asked her, 'What do we do?'" said Ventura County Senior Deputy District Attorney John Barrick. "Maria gave them $300 and said, 'Get to Mexico' and lent her the keys to her car."

    The pair went back to Mexico a couple of months later, fearful the body would be exposed, prosecutors said.

    "Maria again lent them their car so they could dig up her remains and dispose of them which is what they did," Barrick said.

    Nearly four years after Kimberly's death, her parents and grandmother face time behind bars. The little girl's remains are still missing. Kimberly's mother will be sentenced next week. She's facing 47 years to life. The baby's father will spend 14 years behind bars.

    Timeline:

     

    • June 17, 2012 — Kimberly is born with meth in her system and is placed into foster care.
    • July 24, 2013 — Sept. 17, 2013 — Mayra Chavez tortures Kimberly. That case was not filed until February 2018.
    • March 10, 2015 — The last time Kimberly was seen by a social worker.
    • June 22-23, 2015 — Kimberly is assaulted and killed.
    • Aug. 8, 2017 — Mayra Chavez admits for the first time to police that Kimberly is dead.
    • Aug. 11, 2017 — Omar Lopez reveals details about the killing to police.
    • Aug. 13, 2017 — Mayra Chavez provides to police more details about Kimberly's death.
    • Feb. 14, 2018 — Mayra Chavez and Omar Lopez are charged with murder. Chavez is also charged with assault causing death and torture for the 2013 incident. Omar is charged with felony child endangerment.
    • April 19, 2018 — Omar pleads guilty to child endangerment for truthful testimony.
    • Dec. 10, 2018 — Mayra Chavez is found guilty of all charges.

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