A mother who tortured and ultimately killed her six-year-old son over potty training issues after he was handed back to her from time with his foster family has been jailed and could spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Third District Judge Douglas Hogan described the defendant’s actions as “horrible in the worst way” and “particularly disturbing”, adding that he had never encountered a case like it and calling her crimes “despicable”.
Reyna Elizabeth Flores-Rosales, 35, was sentenced to 30 years behind bars for murdering her six-year-old son Norlin Cruz over potty-training problems in Salt Lake City, in the US state of Utah in 2019.
Medics had found little Norlin unresponsive after his mother called 911 on 25th February 2019.
The child was reportedly found without a pulse and was taken to hospital for treatment after being stabilised, with medics examining him and saying that he had suffered multiple injuries and scars including broken bones, burns, and deep cuts, among other injuries.
Norlin was then transferred to the Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital for specialised treatment but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.
It was later established that his cause of death was intentional blunt force trauma to the head and Flores-Rosales was arrested.
Investigators later determined that the boy was also starving at the time of his death and that Flores-Rosales would leave him on the toilet until he defecated while also locking the refrigerator with a bike lock to stop him from eating.
Prosecutors also said that the woman would regularly make doctors appointments for herself and her younger child, unnamed, but would never schedule any for Norlin.
Flores-Rosales was convicted in February, with sentencing taking place on Monday, 15th May.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said in a statement issued on the same day and obtained by Newsflash: “Today’s sentence is what we as a community can do for the tragic loss of Norlin’s life.”
He added: “No amount of time will be long enough for the crime this defendant committed and the manner in which she did it.
“My office will send a letter to the Board of Pardons and Parole requesting Ms Flores-Rosales be kept in prison as long as possible.”
The statement also said: “Children are vulnerable and rely upon the adults around them for safety and protection. This defendant abused her child with intentional, heinous, and repeated violence.
“The level of callous, humiliating, and gratuitous violence inflicted here demanded the most severe punishment.”
The prosecutor also said that it was one of the worst cases of child abuse that he had ever seen. Gill said: “Norlin was a child that only had his foster family left to mourn him when he died from the wounds inflicted by his own mother.
“Our condolences go out to those who love this young child. This is one of the worst cases of child abuse that I have seen and 28 years as a prosecutor.”
Flores-Rosales will spend five years to life in prison for reckless child abuse homicide, a first-degree felony.
She will also spend between one and 15 years for each of two counts of second-degree felony intentional child abuse.
And she will do time of between zero and five years for third-degree felony reckless aggravated child abuse according to local media, with all sentences to run consecutively.
It is currently unclear if she plans to appeal.