A 24-year-old Chicago woman has been charged with first-degree murder after beating her three-year-old daughter to death because her husband wanted a divorce.
According to reports, Maria Espinoza-Perez called police to report that her home had been broken into and the suspects had injured her daughter. When emergency services arrived, they found three-year-old Ashley Mendoza unresponsive and pronounced her dead at the scene.
When officers examined the home, they found blood in the bathroom and in a bedroom, but interestingly enough, there was no blood on the floor in the living room where Mendoza was found. Police say there were no signs of a break in, and the young girl had injuries on her head, hands, and back. She was also missing teeth.
When Espinoza-Perez was brought in for questioning, she admitted to making up the initial story of the break in and said she had been beating her daughter for years.
Friends and neighbors say that Espinoza-Perez and her husband yelled at each other often, but they weren’t aware that the young girl was involved in any way.
“There was a lot of yelling, but it was mostly between the husband and wife,” said neighbor Anita Padilla, adding that Espinoza Perez’s husband seemed to be a good father. “When he would leave every day [for work], she would stand by the window, and he would stand by the car blowing kisses and giving air hugs.”
Espinoza-Perez is reportedly separated from her husband, and family members say they are in shock by the gruesome murder.
“We are all surprised,” said Juan Gonzalez, a brother-in-law. “We can’t believe it.”
Espinoza-Perez was arrested and has been charged with first-degree murder.