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Have you heard of this story?

The short life and brutal death of Baby Brianna

The short life and brutal death of Baby Brianna

Correction appended

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) - Brianna Lopez would be 6 years old now had her death at 6 months of age in 2002 not revealed perhaps the most brutal child-abuse case in state history and prompted a major change in New Mexico law.

But as the July 19 anniversary of her death nears, some say the changes have not gone far enough.

The story of Baby Brianna is a hard one, but it is the ugly reality of child abuse.  Violent family members caused her death while others hid what they knew was going on.

"They raped her; they beat her," said District Attorney Susana Martinez who prosecuted the case.  "She had bite marks on her face, cheek, head, arms, legs, chest, torso, everywhere.

"Literally bruised from head to toe, from the top of her head all throughout her body all the way to the big toe on her right foot."

She was beaten and raped by her own family.

"Massive bruising on the head, and then her little fingers were lacerated, toes," said Detective Lindell Wright who was the first officer on the scene. 

Brianna died on July 19, 2002.  When Wright saw her body at a hospital, he remembers one thought going through his mind:  "I've got a lot to do."

Later, when he had time to look back, "I cried my eyes out.  It will stay with me for the rest of my life."

Investigators said Brianna's mother and father, Stephanie Lopez and Andy Walters, and her uncle Steven Lopez were responsible.

The night before, Steven and Andy threw Brianna to the ceiling, then let her slam to the ground.  And they had raped her time and time again.

Brianna's mother had bitten her child.  The source of the other bruises remains a mystery.

"Bite marks throughout her body; there were old and new," Wright said.  "She had skull fractures that were old and new.

"She had bleeding on the brain both old and new which means she had been abused physically her entire life."

Answer Question

Asked by emilysmom1966 at 9:19 PM on Apr. 10, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 18 (6,228 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • omg...that's SO sad...these things are MONSTERS!!!

    Answer by GothicChk52 at 9:23 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • Sadly, this is similar to a story that occurred not too far away from where I live in 1996. In that story, the baby boy was 16 months old and the neighbors had reported the family to CPS before the child was finally killed by the people who were raping and beating him. CPS never went to investigate. They just called and the parents denied anything was going one. Soon after that the child was dead.

    It's so sad that people do this to babies, but it's even sadder when the system that is supposed to protect them fails. 


    Answer by layh41407 at 9:26 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • I'm in the middle of an abuse case because my daughter is being abused at her dads...this is terrifying. I already don't trust the system. How am I supposed to protect her if the law won't? Oh God help me....

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:34 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • OMG, I wished you didn't post this. This made me sick to my stomach!!

    I am glad they got the life sentence....I can't believe the uncle & grandma saw it and didn't report it.

    My heart is breaking for this baby. So, so, sad..............

    There are so many parents who would love to have children and can't. God NEVER gave people at child to abuse.
    I hope they ROT in hell!

    Answer by ItsJustMe1017 at 9:41 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • I am wondering WHY you posted this? This case of abuse is so sick and we all realize that these things happen but do we have to dwell on them ? WHat can we do? CAn we prevent these things from happening all over the USA and the world? Of couse not, The people living near this family could have prevented this if they had suspicions and fears....but didn't they? MAybe they "didn't want to get involved" So what can we do to convince peiople that they HAVE TO be involved and help?THAT is the issue. How do we persuade people to get involved and stop these horrible cases of abuse?

    Answer by minnesotanice at 9:49 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • minnesotanice- I am sorry. I just think a lot of people  tend to forget about what is important. They tend to forget that Social services need funding to prevent this. Often times 1 social worker is given 51 cases to cover. Is that really realistic? No. We need to keep funding where it's needed. It is easy to sweep this under the rug and ignore the problem. Taking away from Social Services will make this happen more. Sorry ladies.


    Comment by emilysmom1966 (original poster) at 10:20 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • I am firm believer that those who sit by silently and do nothing are equally to blame and should be prosecuted as well. It's not an easy thing to do to report a family member or friend but for the sake of the child we must. The caseworker is also responsible. For the sake of the child a phone call isn't sufficient. Had the person gone to the location and seen the baby that would have likely saved her life.

    False claims to CPS should be prosecuted as well. You read about it a lot. A family dispute results in a vindictive individual reporting good parents. Time and resources are wasted and the reporter should be made to pay for it. It would be a deterrent.

    Answer by sopranomommy at 8:25 AM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • Another horrible child abuse story. They are all horrendous and sad. There is no easy answer but we have to keep trying to prevent this type of thing as well as punish those who do it.

    Answer by itsmesteph11 at 10:03 AM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • OP don't listen to minnesotanotsonice she is a hateful person.

    It is good to remember Brianna since so many failed her while she was alive. Children are safer now than 50 years ago but we still have a long way to go. Not talking about this stuff is why so many children were harmed back in the good ole days. These kids need a voice so we can prevent other children from having to go through this. I was a severly abused as a child and nearly was killed by my parents. My nieghbors did finally speak up sure they couldn't save the world but they did save me. I am glad they were not angry bitter people like minnesotanotsonice I would be dead right now.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:46 AM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • I think i would okay with me if the cops took them out shot them, from head to toe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Answer by gammie at 11:57 AM on Apr. 11, 2011

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