Earlier this week, a stepmother became a step-monster by killing her step-daughter. A California court charged a stepmother in the brutal death of her 4-year-old stepdaughter. According to multiple reports, Zulma Chavez-Ventura stomped, kicked and slammed her stepdaughter into the ground. Ultimately, the injuries led to the death of her 4-year-0ld stepdaughter Serenity.
According to Stockton, California Police’s Facebook page, officers responded to a call on November 25th at the home of Chavez-Ventura. The update states:
“On November 25, 2018, Stockton Police patrol officers were called to an area hospital on a report of a child abuse. When officers arrived, they learned a 4-year-old girl had severe injuries and had to be transported to the UC Davis Medical Center. Stockton Police Family Crimes detectives were called in for the investigation.
During the investigation, detectives learned the incident occurred at the family’s residence in the 8600 block of Rice Court. San Joaquin County Child Protective Services assisted by taking two other siblings, a 4-year-old boy and a 5-year-old boy, into protective custody.
Today, unfortunately, we were notified the little girl had died. Detectives arrested her stepmother, Zulma Chavez-Ventura, 21, on homicide and felony child abuse charges. She has been booked into the San Joaquin County Jail.”
Police did not release the name of the victim. However, the victim’s biological mother identified the child. Malinda Beach spoke with reporters following the death of her daughter.
According to Malinda, her ex-boyfriend had full custody of her three children 4-year-old twins and a 5-year-old boy. Beach heard of her daughter’s death and provided details of the crime.
In a taped statement on a porch, Malinda said that Chavez-Ventura lifted her daughter by her feet and slammed her headfirst into the ground.
Police interviewed the five-year-old boy to find out about the abuse. According to court documents obtained by Fox40, the five-year-old said his stepmother stomped and kicked the children. Also, the child told police Chavez-Ventura told the children not to mention the abuse to their father.
Serenity’s biological mother told reporters that the abuse of the children had been on-going by the stepmother. Additionally, Malinda said she hadn’t seen her children in at least two years.
Malinda told reporters that Chavez-Ventura originally lied to doctors about the cause of Serenity’s injuries. In court documents Malinda shared with reporters, Chavez-Ventura told officers the girl ran into a ladder on a bunk bed.
Neighbors told reporters from Fox40 that they had seen police at the home in the past. However, they believed the abuse was related to domestic violence and not associated with the children. One neighbor said Chavez-Ventura and her husband often had screaming matches.
When Serenity arrived at the hospital, she had sustained life-threatening injuries to her head. Only two days later, she died as a result of the abuse. After Serenity died, police arrested Chavez-Ventura for the murder of Serenity.
Police booked Chavez-Ventura into jail on the 27th. Yesterday a court formally charged Chavez-Ventura with multiple crimes. The court arraigned and charged her with one count of murder, one count of assault on a child under eight years of age causing death, and three counts of child endangerment, one for each surviving child under her care and one count for the deceased child.Following Chavez-Ventura’s arrest, police removed the remaining children from the custody of the father. Malinda Beach says she hopes to regain custody of her two boys.
Oddly quiet is the father, Kevin Carames, in the case. Despite efforts to locate a statement by the father, we could not locate anything. One of the most disturbing parts of the story is that after Chavez-Ventura slammed Serenity to the ground, she waited for her husband to come home before she called the police.
There is so much to unpack in this case and so many questions.
Why didn’t Malinda have joint custody?
Why did Chavez-Ventura wait to call for help?
Where was the father when all of this abuse was going on?
Hopefully, as more details of the case unfold, we will know more about this complex family dynamic. Thankfully, the two living children will be free from the horrific abuse. However, now they are ripped from the only family they ever knew.
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