The Horrific Life & Death of Baby Brianna

brianna mariah lopez

Please Note: The story of Baby Brianna is devastatingly heartbreaking. This story contains difficult details that some readers will find disturbing. Please read with caution.

Parenthood is one of life’s most exciting journeys, one most anticipate with excitement and happiness. The joy of seeing your baby for the first time creates an intense, unimaginable love for a lifetime. At least, most parents feel this way as they prepare to welcome a baby into the world.

Brianna Lopez, known to the world as Baby Brianna, did not experience the joy of loving parents. She instead lived a short life of horror with a mother and father undeserving of oxygen, parents who used the infant for their sick and sadistic amusement until her tiny body could not take any more.

Born to Stephanie Lopez and Andy Walters on February 14, 2002, Brianna lived with her parents, and uncle, Steven Lopez, in a home in Las Cruesas, New Mexico.

On July 19, 2002, Stephanie called 911 stating that her five-month-old had stopped breathing. The dispatcher instructed Stephanie on how to perform CPR until paramedics arrived and rushed her to the hospital. Brianna was pronounced dead on arrival.

Baby Brianna’s Autopsy

An autopsy revealed the horror and torture Brianna endured during her short time on Earth. Her official cause of death was listed as cranial cerebral injuries. She had two skull fractures caused “several days” before her death. She suffered two rib fractures estimated to be two weeks old.

Brianna’s optical nerves were filled with blood caused by being violently shaken on at least two occasions.

She suffered bucket handle fractures caused by her legs and arms being violently forced, yanked, or pulled in different directions out of the socket.

As if these injuries were not bad enough, the autopsy also revealed that Brianna showed signs of sexual abuse.

Baby Brianna Wore Bruises and Signs of Abuse

Medical personnel didn’t need an autopsy to tell them Brianna had suffered severely. She arrived at the hospital covered in bruises and scabs visible across her face and forehead. Human bite marks, as many as 15 marks, were visible across her body.

The abuse began almost as soon as Stephanie and Steven brought Brianna home from the hospital. Stephanie slapped, bit, and punched Brianna when she cried. Andy and his brother Steven inflicted most of the abuse on Brianna as Stephanie sat back and watched. The men kicked, punched, Brianna, and tossed her into the air so that she slammed onto the hard floor.

When Brianna cried, they hit and kicked her even more, laughing the more damage they inflicted on the helpless baby.

When the men took turns raping Brianna, they stuffed clothes into her mouth to muffle her cries.

The Last Attack

After months of abuse, Brianna succumbed to her injuries on July 18 with help from her sperm donor and his brother. Andy and Steven took turns tossing Brianna into the air this evening. The drunkardly men tossed her so high in the air, that she hit her head on the ceiling multiple times and fell onto the hard floor since they never attempted to catch her. Stephanie claimed she had gone to bed before the men started tossing her into the air.

After tossing Brianna into the air, the men put Brianna to bed and called it a night. Around 7:15 a.m. the next morning, Stephanie said she awoke to Brianna crying. She noticed bruises on her body and asked Andy what happened. He told Stephanie that he and Steven “got a little too tough” playing with her the night before.

Stephanie accepted the explanation and placed her crying daughter back in her crib. She went on about her day without a care in the world.

As Brianna lay wounded in her crib, Andy sodomized her with his finger during a diaper change. Stephanie again ignored her daughter’s abuse.

Stephanie called 911 -nearly 24- hours after Brianna first showed obvious signs of distress- claiming Brianna had fallen from a high chair.

Steven told police he started to sexually abuse Brianna that night but stopped himself because he knew it was wrong. Police knew differently.

Brianna’s Family Arrested

Brianna’s grandparents and other family members knew of the abuse, although never intervened or cared enough to notify authorities.

Stephanie, Andy, and Steven were taken into custody. Laws in place when Brianna died allowed a maximum sentence of only 18 years behind bars for a conviction of “intentional child abuse resulting in death.”

Stephanie was found guilty of negligent child abuse and sentenced to 14 ½ years in prison. Andy and Steven each received 18 years in prison. All three have since been released from prison.

Brianna’s grandparents and other relatives also received jail time for their failure to report the abuse, although only 30 days.

Brianna’s Body Left Unclaimed

It’s heartbreaking but not shocking that none of Brianna’s family members came forward to claim the baby’s body. They refused to pay for the funeral or a casket for her. Community members came together to provide Brianna with a beautiful casket adn funeral.

The community placed flowers, balloons, studded teddy bears, and other toys at a memorial site created for baby Brianna. She never had those things during her short life. She never felt or experienced love. Everyone in the community wanted her to know people did care, even if in her death.

Brianna’s family built a cage over Brianna’s grave to keep out anyone who visited. The gravesite area is not maintained and is filled with trash, leaves, and debris.

Baby Brianna Bill

Three years after Brianna’s death, laws in New Mexico changed, In 2005, Senate Bill 166, also called the Baby Brianna Bill, was signed into effect by then-Fovenor Bill Richardson. Under the new bill, child abuse resulting in death was classified as a first-degree felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison.

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