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Mar 15, 2013 7:55 PM by Brian White

18-month-old dies, parents face murder charges

UPDATE: The 18-month-old hospitalized for being abused has died Friday, police said.

Officers arrested 25-year-old Kristepher Benavidez and 30-year-old Monique Thursday. The two are now facing first degree murder charges.

TUCSON - Two parents are in jail Thursday after being arrested on child abuse charges.

Officers responded to a home of 25-year-old Kristepher Benavidez and 30-year-old Monique Gaxiola for reports that an 18-month-old baby girl was not breathing. Firefighters arrived first and took the baby to the hospital, Tucson Police Department Sgt. Chris Widmer said.

Medical staff notified police that the child had non-accidental injuries. Meanwhile, officers discovered two more children next door at the neighbors and realized one of them had non-accidental injuries.

Both children endured severe trauma from the abuse, Widmer said.

An investigation determined that the father was physically abusing the 18-month-old and the mother knew but was too afraid to report it, Widmer said.

Gaxiola and Benavidez were both booked into Pima County Jail.

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