Parents of 15 lb. girl had past cases with Dept. of Child Welfare

A FOX follow-up on a brutal case of child abuse: Carlos Cruz and Rosemary Velazco were arrested after the death of their 3-year-old daughter and now they're facing first degree murder charges.

Police believe the couple intentionally beat and starved the child, who weighed just 15 pounds when she was brought to a hospital where she ultimately was pronounced dead. She had several cuts and bruises all over her body and a broken knee.

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 28-year-old Cruz is here in the country illegally.  He was going to be deported after an arrest back in 2012, but a judge allowed him to post bond.  Three years later, he's back in jail and his 3-year-old daughter is dead.

A memorial was seen outside the home where 3-year-old Alexandra Tercerro spent her last moments.  Police believe she was locked in a room and beaten repeatedly by her parents.

In 2011, Alexandra was taken away from Cruz and Velazco, along with her older brother right after her birth because she was born with drugs in her system.  The children were returned to the couple in 2012 after they completed parenting classes.  Then in June 2014, DCS took Alexandra's baby brother out of the couple's home after investigation into charges of child neglect, but Alexandra and her older brother remained.

"We received an allegation of neglect regarding a child in this same home.  We responded to that allegation and removed that child and placed that child in foster care," said DCS' Doug Nick.

But why wasn't little Alexandra also taken away last summer? This wasn't the first time DCS had investigated her parents, Velazco and Cruz.

"Questions were asked by us as to the other siblings because we knew there were other siblings because of previous incidents," said Nick.  "The parents told us that the siblings were out of the country.. not in the home obviously.  The parents made every effort to conceal the fact that the other children.. where their whereabouts were."

During a jailhouse interview, Cruz admitted he tried to hide Alexandra and didn't take her to the doctor because he was afraid DCS would take her away.

Along with the ongoing criminal investigation, DCS is reviewing this case internally.

"We are obviously very concerned about what happened in this case. We want to make sure everything was done the way it was supposed to be," said Nick.

ICE has once again placed a detainer on Cruz.  He and Velazco could face additional charges, depending on their daughter's autopsy report.
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