SANTA ANA, Calif. – An Anaheim woman has been convicted of torturing her 10-year-old step-daughter, leaving the little girl with a broken neck, bone sticking out of an unhealed sore, and bruises from head to toe as a result of months of increasingly humiliating and brutal cruelty. An emergency room nurse told police officers it was the worst case of trauma and suspected child abuse she had ever seen.
Mayra Chavez, 33, of Anaheim was also convicted of abusing three other children in the home, including another step-daughter and two of her own children.
Chavez was convicted by a jury today of one felony count of torture, two felony counts of child abuse and endangerment, and one felony enhancement of causing great bodily injury. The jury convicted Chavez of the lesser included offense of simple assault involving Chavez’ 17-year-old son.
She faces a maximum sentence of 7 years to life plus 10 years and four months in state prison. Chavez is scheduled to be sentenced on November 3, 2023.
Domingo Junior Flores, the 10-year-old girl’s father, is awaiting trial on one felony count of torture, two felony counts of child abuse and endangerment, one misdemeanor count of felony child abuse and endangerment, and one felony enhancement of causing great bodily injury.
The 10-year-old weighed just 50 pounds and was unresponsive when she was rushed to Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Orange by her father in August 2022, who told police and medical professionals the little girl had harmed herself and had fallen down the stairs.
Flores and Chavez were arrested by the Anaheim Police Department as emergency room staff worked to revive the little girl.
Police recovered zip ties throughout the Anaheim apartment where they family lived. During Chavez’ trial, witnesses gave graphic details of the abuse the little girl suffered at the hands of her stepmother, including being forced to kneel on raw rice or tin cans with her hands and legs hogtied, being plunged face first into a bathtub full of ice while zip tied, and having a habanero pepper rubbed in her eyes and vagina after being forced to bit into the pepper. Jurors heard from three of the other children in the home who sobbed on the witness stand as they described being forced to zip tie their sister to the bed and witnessing Chavez abuse her.
“The details of unimaginable pain and suffering this little girl endured at the hands of her stepmother has brought the most experienced prosecutors, police officers, and hospital staff to tears,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “But this systematic and diabolical torture of child was normalized in her household. Hogtying her with zip ties and forcing her to kneel on tin cans for so long her chin had pressure wounds was as routine as reminding the other children to brush their teeth. She physically, mentally, and emotionally abused and humiliated this child for months and when that was not enough, she forced her other children to participate in the torture, forcing them to zip tie their sister to her bed frame and to ignore her cries for help. She is alive today as a result of the heroic efforts by CHOC to save her life. Child abuse cannot and will not be normalized. Horrific things happen behind closed doors and we remain more committed than ever as prosecutors and law enforcement officials to throw open those doors and shed light on the most vulnerable of victims who are suffering in silence.”
Deputy District Attorney Bethel Cope-Vega of the Family Protection Unit is prosecuting this case.