Caregiver sentenced to life in prison for murder of Baby Leah - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Caregiver sentenced to life in prison for murder of Baby Leah

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Leah Marie Aguirre was 2 years old Leah Marie Aguirre was 2 years old
Matilda Almaraz (Source: Garza County Sheriff's Office) Matilda Almaraz (Source: Garza County Sheriff's Office)

Crosbyton woman Matilda Almaraz, 42, has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 2-year-old Leah Marie Aguirre.

"She agreed to tell what happened, in exchange, we agreed to withdraw the death penalty and allow her to plea to the offense of murder for a life sentence," said District Attorney Michael Ward. 

Almaraz was scheduled to go to trial for capital murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of murder to avoid the death penalty.

"She admitted to trying to give baby Leah a bath and probably in the bathroom the baby started crying and she hit her twice in the head with a board," Ward said.

Almaraz will be eligible for parole after 30 years. District Attorney Michael Ward says there could be more arrests made in this case.

The FBI discovered Baby Leah's body wrapped in plastic inside a box in Almaraz' basement back in January. Almaraz was Leah's temporary caregiver at the time, and was also the one who reported her missing.

The indictment issued back in March said Almaraz intentionally or knowingly caused the death of Leah Aguirre. It said Leah's death was caused by being struck on the head and body, either with hands, feet, some sort of object or by shaking her.

Almaraz told police that a man by the name of Miguel posed as a CPS worker and took Leah from her home on Jan. 3. Nearly a week passed before Almaraz reported the child missing to police, on Jan. 8. The indictment claims Leah's death happened on or around Jan. 2.

Leah's mother, Tina Aguirre, had given Almaraz temporary custody of her daughter in September of 2012. Tina said she only knew Almaraz through a Facebook friend and she rarely saw Leah after that.

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