Parents charged with murder in death of 3-year-old child who weighed only 15 pounds

PHOENIX (AP) — Authorities have filed murder charges against a suburban Phoenix couple after the death of their 3-year-old daughter who weighed just 15 pounds.

Police say 28-year-old Carlos Cruz and 36-year-old Rosemary Velazco were arrested Saturday on suspicion of felony child abuse.

Officials with the Maricopa County attorney's office say both defendants were charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of child abuse in a direct complaint filed Wednesday.

Police say the child showed signs of being beaten and sexually abused and weighed just 15 pounds when she was taken to a hospital a week shy of her fourth birthday.

Cruz has denied sexually and physically abusing his daughter.

According to FOX10 in Phoenix, Arizona Child Protective Services had investigated the parents before and had removed a newborn from their care because of drug use.

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 28-year-old Cruz is in the country illegally.  He was going to be deported after an arrest in 2012, FOX10 said, but a judge allowed him to post bond.

ICE has once again placed a detainer on Cruz, FOX10 said.