FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:May 7, 2014
Contact: Heather F. WilliamsonCommonwealth’s Attorney’s Office20 East Market StreetLeesburg, VA 20176-2809(703) 777-0242
MOTHER SENTENCED FOR 2005 DEATH OF DAUGHTER
JUDGE IMPOSES EIGHT YEAR PRISON TERM
Leesburg, VA – May 5, 2014. Vanesa Patricio Cruz, 32, of Sterling was sentenced to serve eight years in the Virginia Department of Corrections for her role in the 2005 death of her twenty-month old daughter. Cruz pleaded no contest to a charge of voluntary manslaughter on January 16, 2014.
Cruz and her boyfriend brought the lifeless body of her daughter to a fire station in South Riding in the late summer of 2005 seeking help. Attempts to revive the child were unsuccessful and subsequent medical examinations and an autopsy revealed that the child suffered non-accidental head trauma, rib fractures, and showed signs of prior brain injury.
In an interview with law enforcement in the spring of 2012, Cruz was presented with medical and scientific evidence revealing the cause of her daughter’s death. During the interview Cruz made a series of statements and acknowledged that she had picked up her daughter “hard” when she was “desperate and angry.” Additionally, she admitted to striking the baby with a remote control.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jason Faw urged the Court to consider that the victim was a completely innocent child and asked the Court to impose a sentence that would bring justice for a child that never had the chance to live her life.
Before sentencing Cruz to spend the next eight years in prison, Judge Burke F. McCahill noted that there were “no winners, only losers” in this case. “Society has to react strongly to these types of offenses and we all have a duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves,” continued McCahill.
Cruz, a native of Mexico is in the United States illegally. Although an additional two years of suspended penitentiary time was also imposed, a federal immigration detainer has been placed on Cruz to ensure her removal from the country upon the completion of her eight year sentence.