Woman arrested in death of stepdaughter

July 29, 2011 1:46:03 PM PDT
Authorities say a West Texas woman has been arrested in the death of her 22-month-old stepdaughter amid allegations of child abuse.

Twenty-eight-year-old Maria Estrella Hernandez of Horizon City is charged with injury to a minor and capital murder. Jail records show her bail is $575,000. The public defender's office did not immediately respond calls regarding Hernandez's case.

A preliminary autopsy cited in an arrest affidavit obtained by The El Paso Times shows that Joanna Renee Castillo, Hernandez's stepdaughter, died on July 21 from blunt force injury to the head. The girl had been hospitalized five days before because she started having seizures.

The newspaper reports that deputies of the El Paso sheriff's office spoke to neighbors who claim to have taken pictures of bite marks on the girl.

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