Here’s 25-year-old Yara Belen Perez.
Does she look depressed to you?
When asked by local reporters, a neighbor thought that she looked depressed.
During the weekend I did see her up on the ledge there, and she was just smoking a cigarette and she looked kind of depressed. I didn’t think much of it. It’s just the way she looks.
Yara Perez lived in an apartment with her two daughters, three-year-old Jacqueline Gonzalez and five-year-old Yara.
Also living in the apartment and rounding out this modern-day Brady Bunch was Francisco Castaneda, Yara Perez’s common-law husband and the love of her life, according to Yara’s MySpace page.
Both Yara Perez and Francisco Castaneda have a history of incidents with family members.
In March of 2004, day-care personnel caring for Yara’s older daughter reported a burn to the girl’s chest. Yara claimed that some hot milk right out of the microwave had spilled onto her daughter and, after an investigation, the burn was ruled accidental.
In October of 2007, Yara was charged with two counts of assault with intent to cause bodily injury. She had bonded out and was waiting to be arraigned in December.
Francisco Castaneda was accused in December of 2005 of beating the crap out of his then common-law wife, punching her repeatedly in the face before police arrived and found her locked in a back bathroom, topless and covered in bruises and cuts.
And, of course, those are only the incidents that were reported to the police.
Another incident was reported to the police on the 19th of November, 2007.
This time, an anonymous call was made to 911. A female caller told the operator that she had seen three-year-old Jacqueline Gonzalez lying on the floor of her parent’s apartment, face up and motionless. She also mentioned that Yara Perez and Francisco Castaneda told her that the child had fallen, but that she was ok.
When the police arrived, Yara and Francisco insisted that they didn’t have a three-year-old, presenting Yara’s five-year-old and telling officers that she was an only child.
Ironically, that was now a partial truth.
Officers went through the apartment, which had a room that was obviously set up for two younger children. Finding no child in the apartment, they moved the search outside the apartment, walking the apartment complex grounds.
Finally the officers checked the family’s gold-colored Dodge Stratus, which was parked right in front of the apartment.
In the trunk, placed in a large plastic tub, was the body of Jacqueline Gonzales.
Yara Perez and Francisco Castaneda were immediately arrested.
During their respective interrogations, each of these fine, upstanding citizens first attempted to tell the authorities that the girl had hurt herself falling down. When that didn’t fly, they both attempted to place the blame for the girl’s death on each other.
An autopsy that was done on the 21st of November showed the world that Jacqueline death was caused by at least one incredibly hard blow to her abdomen, which caused the internal bleeding that finally killed the girl. The evidence showed that the blow was not accidental.
Police spokesman Javier Sambrano told the press:
The injuries that that child received, we feel, were as a result of injuries that were caused by the parents. The type of injuries that the child had were not consistent with a fall.
Both Yara Belen Perez and Francisco Castaneda have been charged with injury to a child resulting in death, which is a first-degree felony.
According to correctional officials, Yara Perez has been placed on suicide watch.
Her other daughter has been placed in foster care.