After having pleaded guilty to charges of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury in connection with the severe malnourishment and starvation of their three-year-old daughter, a Denver, Colorado, couple has now been sentenced to jail. On Friday, the little girl’s mother, Kathleen Sanchez, was sentenced to 16 years in prison. The father, Kenny Sanchez, will be spending the next eight years behind bars, according to an October 23 report from CBS News in Denver.
The parents were arrested in February 2012 after a Good Samaritan saw the little girl in obvious distress while she was at a Disabled American Veterans thrift store accompanied by her parents. That Good Samaritan, Laura Argomaniz, contacted police at the time and was also present at the little girl’s parents’ sentencing hearing. When Argomaniz saw the little girl crying after being slapped by her parents, the Good Samaritan – accompanied at the time by her off-duty Boulder Deputy husband – called the police.
Three-year-old Lily weighed only 19 pounds at the time. Doctors were worried the abuse and neglect the child suffered could result in her organs being permanently damaged, according to 9 News in Colorado.
Although the father chose not to address the court at the couple’s sentencing, the mother told the judge that she didn’t know what went wrong except that both she and her husband did neglect their baby girl. The mother claimed that she was young and had mental health issues, adding that “I have been barefoot and pregnant since the time I was 16 until 23,” according to 9 News.
The judge in Denver didn’t buy the mother’s comments. Before delivering her sentence, Judge Sheila Rappaport reminded the mother that the child had been abused, neglected and even tortured.
In addition to their three year-year-old daughter, Kathleen and Kenny Sanchez had two other young children. All three kids were removed from their parents and are all doing well in their new homes with their new families. For more on the story, see the video accompanying this article.
Everyone in the community plays a role in preventing child abuse and neglect. The Colorado Department of Human Services provides a statewide hotline for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect. The phone number is 1-844-CO-4-KIDS. All hotline calls are routed to the county where a child resides. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, call to report your suspicions or concerns and let trained staff take it from there.