An Arizona woman could spend the rest of her life in prison after admitting this month to keeping her six-year-old son confined in a closet, ultimately leading to his death by starvation.
The woman, Elizabeth Archibeque, accepted a plea deal with the prosecution, as initially reported by the Arizona Daily Sun over the weekend. The child’s father, Anthony Martinez, and grandmother, Ann Martinez, were also taken into custody back in March 2020.
In an unsettling disclosure, law enforcement authorities stated that Archibeque’s two sons, six-year-old Deshaun Martinez and his seven-year-old brother, were imprisoned in a closet for approximately 16 hours daily over a month. They were systematically denied sustenance at their home in Flagstaff, located two hours north of Phoenix.
A post-mortem examination concluded that Deshaun passed away due to starvation in March 2020. According to authorities, the child weighed a meager 18 pounds at the time of his death, a figure markedly below the average for a child of his age.
Initially, the parents attempted to explain their son’s undernourished state as a consequence of a medical condition and the consumption of diet or caffeine pills. They later confessed to law enforcement officers that they kept Deshaun and his elder brother confined in a closet for long hours each day, providing them with scarce food. The older brother, however, managed to survive this ordeal.
According to the police, the harsh confinement served as punishment for the boys’ alleged food theft while their parents were asleep. Archibeque, along with the boy’s father and grandmother, faced charges in relation to the incident.
The sentencing for Archibeque is scheduled for later this summer. Under the terms of the accepted plea agreement, she is ineligible for probation.
If sentenced to life imprisonment, she will not qualify for parole or any form of work release.