Parents & Grandma Charged in Murder of 6-Year-Old Who Weighed Just 18 Pounds

Deshaun Martinez
12 News

An autopsy report on 6-year-old Deshaun Martinez of Flagstaff, Arizona, revealed that the young boy was starved to death and weighed only 18 pounds when he died. The discovery follows the arrest of Martinez's parents, 23-year-old Jose Archibeque-Martinez and 26-year-old Elizabeth Archibeque-Martinez, and his grandmother Ann Marie Martinez, 50, who have been charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, and child abuse. All three adults have pleaded not guilty and are being held on a $3 million bond, according to People.

  • Police were called to the family's apartment on March 2, and when they got there, Deshaun was on the floor and unresponsive.

    A police statement noted that when officers found Deshaun, "the physical appearance of the six-year old child did not compliment his age, appearing malnourished," according to the Daily Mail.

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  • Police called emergency medical workers to the apartment, but they couldn't resuscitate him.

    He was eventually declared dead at the scene. Initially, his parents attributed his emaciated frame to a medical condition and to ingesting diet or caffeine pills. But eventually they confessed that they kept Deshaun and his 7-year-old brother in a closet for 16 hours a day and gave them very little to eat.

  • The boys were kept in the closet from 8 p.m. until noon the next day when they would be released to eat oatmeal.

    Four hours later, they would be allowed to eat a cheese sandwich. Their two sisters, 2 and 4, did not appear to be malnourished when police examined them. Police reported that the boys were kept in the closet as a punishment for stealing food while the parents slept and that their grandmother knew what condition they were being held in.

  • An autopsy report has shed light on Deshaun's medical history, which might explain his concerning low weight.

    The document shows that Deshaun had a history of trouble gaining weight. At 2 weeks old, Deshaun was hospitalized with sepsis from a urinary tract infection that resulted in vomiting and fevers at every feeding. He was kept in the hospital for 10 days, and upon his release his parents were counseled on how to keep him a heathy weight, the autopsy noted.

  • The autopsy states that by 4 years old, Deshaun's weight had climbed to 34 pounds but dropped to 27 pounds the next year.

    By 6 years old, he weighed 18 pounds -- the same amount he weighed when he was 1. Medical examiner Lawrence Czarnecki declared that upon his death, Deshaun was in the third percentile for his age and was in a "non-life-sustaining state of starvation."

    Meanwhile, Deshaun's father tried to explain to police that the family was on a budget and was waiting for food stamps to buy his son more fatty foods. But police noticed that the skin on the boy's frame seemed stretched over his bones and he had almost no body fat. The skin on his face was depressed into the cavities of his face, his eyes were sunken and surrounded by dark circles, and his hair was brittle.

    The autopsy also noted that Deshaun had bruises and abrasions but declared they weren't life-threatening.

  • Deshuan's three siblings have been taken into custody by the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

    In March, department spokesman Darren DaRonco spoke out about the incident on behalf on the agency, saying "DCS mourns the tragic loss of this innocent life," according to the New York Daily News.

crime child abuse