Baby sitter arrested after death of Modesto toddler

beestaff@modbee.comFebruary 9, 2012 

UPDATE: Modesto police identified the toddler who died from injuries Tuesday while under the care of a baby sitter who has since been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Alexandra Medina-Cisneros was identified as the victim, according to Lt. Rick Armendariz, spokesman for the Modesto Police Department. Police now say the toddler was 18 months old, amending their initial report that had her listed as 2 years old.

The baby sitter, who was taken into custody on Wednesday night, is Maria Elena Torres, 31, of Modesto.

Lt. Rick Armendariz said this morning Alexandra suffered injuries while under the care of Torres at her apartment complex in the 1200 block of Marseille Lane. Torres also was watching her two own children, ages 2 and 4.

After Alexandra suffered her injuries, Torres then carried her to the toddler's mom's house down the street on Marseille before calling police.

Armendariz said Torres told investigators that Alexandra fell down a flight of stairs. However, he said the injuries were not consistent with that scenario. He did not go into details.

He also said that Torres' two young children are in the care of the Stanislaus County Child Protective Services.

A reporter knocked on the door of the apartment and the residence where Alexandra was taken, but nobody answered.

We'll have more on this story as information becomes available.


An 18-month-old Modesto toddler is dead and her 31-year-old babysitter has been arrested on suspicion of murder, authorities said.

Police were called to a home in the 1000 block of Marseille Lane in southwest Modesto on a report that a child was not breathing. The officers immediately began taking life-saving measures on the unconscious little girl. Paramedics arrived shortly after and took the child to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The girl’s babysitter, Maria Torres of Modesto, told police the child had accidentally fallen down a flight of stairs. Officers discovered discrepancies in her story and detectives began a suspicious death investigation.

After further probing and evidence gathering, Torres was arrested Wednesday night at the Modesto Police Department and booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on suspicion of murder.

Detectives are continuing to follow-up on this case.

Police ask anyone who may have information regarding this incident to please call Detective Jon Evers at (209) 572-9534 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tipsters can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Just type “TIP704” along with your message.

We’ll have more on this breaking story later today.

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