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April 2012 Archives

On Wednesday, police arrested a Peoria couple on suspicion of child abuse after their baby was found dehydrated and malnourished, reports.

Authorities brought the 3-month-old boy to a local hospital for treatment. John Knapman and Diana Rosemary Dieter had been previously accused of abusing their other son, who is now 2-1/2 years old.

On Wednesday, state lawmakers approved a controversial contraception bill that allows Arizona employers to drop birth control coverage from health-care plans, The Associated Press reports. The Arizona Senate previously voted down a slightly broader version of the bill in March.

Many commentators have criticized House Bill 2625 for impinging upon women’s right to privacy. However, supporters of the bill argue that it’s necessary to protect employers’ religious rights.

The parents of 3-month-old Vanessa Martinez have been arrested on suspicion of murdering the girl in January. On Tuesday, the girl’s remains were found in a shallow grave halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, The Arizona Republic reports.

Jonathan Niles Kesterton, 26, Olivia Paige Martinez, 20, have been extradited to Pima County Adult Detention Center, according to the Pima County Sheriff’s Office.

Policemen and other public officers are often exceptions to the stranger-danger teachings most parents try to instill in their children. Last week, however, a Glendale man took advantage of the trust many kids have in authority figures, The Arizona Republic reports.

According to police, 19-year-old Sheldon Maloney convinced three girls that he was a security guard at their Glendale apartment complex. He then allegedly abducted the girls, bringing them back to his apartment.

Police arrested a Queen Creek couple this week on allegations that they had been abusing their children for years, Fox News reports. Jesus Trevizo Melendez and Cathy May Melendez have been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and failure to report child abuse.

Queen Creek Police began investigating the couple after Cathy Melendez brought her son into a local hospital for a fractured arm. Melendez reportedly instructed her son to tell doctors that he hurt his arm when he fell down the stairs.

New details emerged about Baby Gabriel's parents, Logan McQueary and Elizabeth Johnson, when the trial of Tammi Smith, the woman who wanted to adopt Gabriel, began on Tuesday. Smith is charged with forgery and conspiracy to commit custodial interference with Johnson, The Arizona Republic reports.

While prosecutors painted a picture of Smith as scheming, desperate, and obssessed with adopting Gabriel, Smith's attorneys depicted her as a kindhearted mother and business owner. According to testimony by McQueary, Smith and her husband tried to lure McQueary into signing adoption papers.

On Monday, a judge ruled that self-incriminating statements made by Elizabeth Johnson regarding the disappearance of her 8-month-old son, Gabriel, could not be entered into evidence in Johnson’s upcoming trial, reports.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Paul McMurdie stated that Johnson’s constitutional rights were violated when a Texas detective interviewed her in a Phoenix jail without the knowledge of her attorneys. Johnson has pleaded not guilty to charges of child abuse, kidnapping, and custodial interference stemming from the 2009 disappearance of her son.

Just a few years ago Arizona Child Protective Services was well-funded and able to accommodate any children that needed a safe place to stay. That's no longer the case, CBS News reports.

With fewer and fewer people signing on to be foster parents and funding decreasing, Arizona CPS is facing new difficulties. Due to a lack of space, a Phoenix branch of the Child Crisis Center has been forced to turn away children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, according to CBS News.

With the prevalence of divorce on the rise, we’re often confronted with issues of child custody in the news and in our everyday lives. While you may have an idea about what custody of a child involves, you may not know the different types of child custody and the rights granted by each.

Below, we’ve included an overview of the three basic types of child custody: sole physical custody, joint physical custody, and legal custody.

In a 37-22 vote, the Arizona House approved a controversial anti-abortion bill on Tuesday that generally bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, The Associated Press reports.

Six other states, including Nebraska, have previously enacted similar laws banning abortions after 20 weeks, but the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project has called Arizona’s the “most extreme bill of its kind,” Mother Jones notes.

Model Heidi Klum has filed for a divorce from singer Seal, after six years of marriage, The Washington Post reports. In her divorce petition, Klum cited the classic “irreconcilable differences.”

Divorces can often be messy affairs, with spouses dragging each other through the mud in a grab for assets acquired during the marriage. Klum and Seal avoided all that, however, by reportedly signing a post-nuptial agreement determining how their married assets will be divided in divorce.

A 26-year-old Arizona woman was sentenced on Wednesday to up to three years in prison for keeping her toddler in a Sidney, Nebraska motel room while drugs were being sold there, The Associated Press reports. The woman pleaded guilty to felony child abuse charges in February.

Monica Griffith, of Sierra Vista, sought probation for her crimes. However, the Cheyenne County District Court judge sentenced Griffith to 18 to 36 months in prison.

Raul Varela, a former engineer director at Goodyear, and his wife, Tricia Varela, will face a new trial this summer at the Maricopa County Superior Court on allegations that they abused their daughter, The Arizona Republic reports. The jurors in the couple’s first trial were unable to reach a verdict, leading the judge to declare a mistrial.

The Varelas were indicted in June 2009 and accused of physically abusing their adopted 4-year-old daughter while potty training the girl. The couple has since been released, but is prohibited from having unsupervised contact with any minors.

Brent Anderson, a 31-year-old Phoenix resident, was arrested Saturday near Mazatlan, Mexico for leaving the country with his 3-year-old daughter instead of returning her to her mother. Deputy U.S. marshals and Mexican authorities located the girl in a home late Friday and placed her with social workers, reports.

Anderson is the girl’s biological father but does not have legal custody of her. He failed to turn over custody of his daughter to her mother on Feb. 22 as required by a court order, and will likely be charged with custodial interference.