A Madera Ranchos woman charged with murdering her 12-year-old daughter and torturing her teenage son could face the death penalty, in a case that may hold repercussions for county social service agencies.
Her husband Gerardo Flores, a deputy sheriff from San Joaquin County, will also face charges related to the killing and attempts to cover it up, District Attorney David Linn said.
Amy Louise Chavoya, 42, allegedly murdered her daughter Mariah Flores in October of 2014.
During a preliminary hearing that ended this week, a pathologist pointed out scars on Mariah, while Chavoya’s adopted son painted a gruesome picture of Chavoya’s alleged deeds.
The Madera Tribune reported Chavoya punished her daughter and two siblings by withholding food, firing a Taser at them, ordering them to sleep outdoors in the winter without any shelter, slamming their heads into sheet rock, and forcing them to stand up awake all night, with plastic bags tied to their feet to alert her if they failed to do so.
The pathologist testified Mariah died from internal bleeding after a severe blow to her stomach.
Many other alleged acts of abuse were described during the hearing.
Chavoya’s defense attorney Steven Geringer spent much of his time questioning if there were other ways to explain Mariah’s scars.
Judge Mitchell Rigby ruled after the hearing Chavoya will head to trial.
Linn said Gerardo Flores will be charged with felonies for alleged involvement in the abuse, though San Joaquin County sheriff’s spokesman Les Garcia told the Fresno Bee authorities had yet to be notified of pending criminal charges.
Additionally, Linn said he may ask a grand jury to investigate local service agencies. During the preliminary hearing, a teacher testified school staff called Child Protective Services more than 20 times because they were so concerned about Mariah’s injuries, and saw her digging through the trash or stealing food.
Chavoya will be arraigned Dec. 30, but Linn noted a trial is still far off.
“We will ensure that justice is finally obtained for young Mariah and that this type of case never happens again in Madera County or any other county in the State of California,” said Linn, who thanked Senior Deputy District Attorney John Baker, Deputy District Attorney Christine Nijjer, and Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Ward for their work on the case.