VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. (KTLA) -- An Oxnard woman was sentenced to life in prison in the 2015 torture killing of her 3-year-old daughter, the Ventura County District Attorney's Office said Tuesday.
Mayra Alejandra Chavez, 27, was found guilty last year of second-degree murder, assault resulting in death of a child and torture in the death of her daughter, Kimberly Chavez Lopez, the DA said.
The search for the child started in 2016 after Ventura County Children and Family Services reported that they hadn't been able to find the child since they last saw her in March 2015.
Kimberly's father, Omar Lopez, 33, later testified about Chavez's abusive treatment of her daughter, and said the child died after the mother pulled her legs from underneath her to change her diaper, causing her to hit her head and suffer seizures.
After she died, the parents disposed of their daughter's body in Tijuana, Mexico, Lopez testified.
Kimberly's body was never recovered.
The mother had lost custody of the child at birth after the baby tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana, and officials placed the child in foster care for about nine months. The mother later regained custody after taking drug and parenting classes, a news release said.
The child was again placed in foster care due to abuse allegations, but the mother eventually regained custody and the abuse continued, authorities said.
“Chavez continued to abuse and mistreat Kimberly,” the DA said. “This abuse ultimately led to Kimberly's tragic death.”
Both Lopez and Chavez were arrested in connection with Kimberly's death on Feb. 14, 2018.
Chavez' mother, Maria De Jesus Lopez, 45, admitted to helping cover up the killing, prosecutors said.
The grandmother lent the couple her car and gave them money so that they could take the child's body to Tijuana and destroy her remains, prosecutors said.
She was sentenced last week to 180 days in county jail and three years of formal probation.
Chavez will be eligible for parole in 37 years, the DA said.