Brianna Mariah Lopez
February 14, 2002 - July 19, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial

Once again, I would like to thank Joanie for sending me a link to a picture. This is
the first picture I have ever seen of Brianna while she was alive. I can't thank Joanie
enough for letting me see this precious Angels smile.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico there is a  small grave of a baby that has been fenced in and locked up. No one can get to the grave to lay flowers or grieve. District Attorney Susana Martinez says this is just another way that Briana Lopez's parents are causing this precious baby pain, even after her death. 

"They are isolating her not only in her life but also in her death"

On July 19, 2002, Briana was only five months old and suffered some of the worst abuse imaginable for a child that age. The abuse resulted in the death of this poor baby girl.

(NOTE: I struggled with wanting to put the picture of Brianna after her death, on the page and not wanting to dishonor her by showing her in death. I have made the decision to put her picture on the site TO honor her and let people know that she was a beautiful baby and that she DID live. I am still not sure I am doing the right thing, I can only hope that I am)

On record are allegations of sexual abuse, being shaken and beaten, over 13 adult sized bite marks as well as other lacerations and contusions over her entire body. In juries to  her genital and anal area were also found . Briana's family called 911 and said that she had fallen out of her chair and was no longer breathing.

On trial for her death were Briana's mother, Stephanie Lopez who is accused of murdering her, her father, Andy Walters and an Uncle, Steven Lopez who are accused of sexually abusing her and murdering her and her Grandmother, Patricia Walters and one other Uncle, Robert Walters Jr., who face charges of failing to report child abuse. Briana's uncle Steven , her father Andrew and her mother Stephanie are facing the most time in prison. Though NONE of them will serve enough time to make up for what they did to this innocent baby girl.

Stephanie Lopez said:

"Until the day I die I will feel guilty for the way my daughter left this world in such a horrible way."

Stephanie told the judge that she didn't have anything to do with the death of her daughter and that it had been her husbands fault, claiming she never knew that Briana was being abused.

Stepanie's Attorney, Stephen Ryan had the NERVE  to say:

"Andy killed baby Briana didn't he. If everybody else gets to blame him the mother of the child 
ought to get to blame him too"

Susana Martinez, District Attorney had this to say:

"To say this child was beaten head to toe is not an exaggeration."

"I find their statements extremely self-serving. It's all about how I feel, what I've gone through, 
how life has been difficult for me since i've been arrested. It's all about I, I, I and never t
here was an empathy for Briana."

There was one woman who spoke up for Briana. A great Aunt  name Rosanne Garcia stated:

"I heard them pleading for mercy for them not to be given so many years and they all had 
defense attorneys to help them but who was there for Briana when she was being violated 
and abused."

"The time that they are going to get, is not going to be enough."

Susana Martinez asked for the maximum punishment possible for all of them. Sadly, their sentences do not fit their crimes. It took a jury of seven men and five woman nine hours to find all of them guilty.

Andy Walters, the father, received a mere 57 years in prison and her Uncle Steven Lopez received only 51 years for sexually abusing and causing the death of Briana due to abuse and neglect.

Stephanie Lopez, her mother received a very short sentence of 27 years in prison for child abuse and neglect resulting in death. The Jury decided that she was not guilty of intentional abuse since she did not inflict the abuse but had allowed it to take place.

Briana's Grandmother, Patricia Walters and her Uncle, Robert Walters Jr each got off easy with only 30 days in jail for failing to report the abuse and save Briana's life. The maximum would have been one year, which is what they SHOULD have gotten:

"Those two individuals knew that she was being abused. She was full of bruises that were 
old, green, brown, yellow colored. Had they reported it early, had they insisted on that 
child not being abused, maybe we would have never had her death take place"
Susana Martinez

As each guilty verdict was read, the Lopez and Walters families showed their emotions by embracing and crying. The only one of the defendants to show emotion at that time was Steven Lopez who is the twin brother of Stephanie, put his head in his hands and started to cry.

When the jury was dismissed and had left the court room, the defendants then began to show their emotions by crying and  hugging their lawyers who tried to console them. Stephanie and Steven were allowed to hug each other and cry before being lead out of the court room by guards.

One of Brianna's grandparents had her buried in Doña Ana County. Brianna's parents have said they do not want a grave maker for her, so she has no headstone to honor her in death:

“It’s been said they don’t want a gravestone and if it is placed here they want it torn down. 
They don’t want anything indicating where the child is buried.” 
Las Cruces resident Edgar Lopez

Some people in the community worry that if there is nothing to mark Brianna's grave, her abuse case will go unnoticed or that she will not be remembered:

“If the parents don’t allow us to do that fine, but I can tell you a memorial will be set up 
somewhere for baby Brianna.  It may not be at her gravesite but it will be in the community"
Las Cruces resident Edgar Lopez

UPDATE June 21, 2007:

SUPREME COURT REINSTATES "BABY BRIANNA CONVICTION"
June 21, 2007 

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO—Attorney General Gary King today announced a New Mexico Supreme Court decision that overturns a New Mexico Court of Appeals ruling on one of the state’s most notorious cases of child abuse. The Court says Stephanie Lopez’ conviction and sentence will stand in connection with the death of her 5-month old daughter, Brianna Lopez, also known as Baby Brianna.

In 2006, the Court of Appeals overturned Lopez’ and other defendants convictions based on a perceived violation of their constitutional rights. The Attorney General’s Office appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and today’s announcement is based on that appeal.

Stephanie Lopez was originally sentenced to 27 years in prison for her part in the infant’s death. Her boyfriend Andy Walters received a 57-year sentence and her twin brother Steven Lopez was given 51 years in prison for their roles in the 2002 death of the Las Cruces girl.

Posted 6/21/2007 05:26:00 PM

The New Mexico Supreme Court today reinstated the conviction of the mother of Baby Brianna, the 5-month-old girl whose 2002 death shocked the Las Cruces community and led to tougher state penalties for child killers.

The decision, which you can read by clicking here, was announced by the attorney general’s office. The court’s justices were unanimous in agreeing that Stephanie Lopez’s rights were violated, but split 3-2 on whether the error was harmless, with Justices Petra Maes, Pamela Minzer and Patricio Serna saying the error was harmless and reinstating the conviction.

The convictions of Brianna’s mother Stephanie Lopez, father Andy Walters and Uncle Steven Lopez were overturned by the Court of Appeals in 2006. That court found that their right to confront and cross examine their accusers had been violated because they were tried together.

The attorney general’s office appealed the decision.

That appellate court ruling stemmed from a 2004 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said defendants who accused each other had to be tried separately so they could be called as witnesses in each others’ cases without giving up their right to remain silent in their own cases.

The complex issue surrounded whether statements from Steven Lopez and Andy Walters that incriminated Stephanie Lopez could be admitted into evidence since she could not cross-examine the two because they invoked their right against self incrimination.

The Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court that the admission of the statements violated Stephanie Lopez’s right to confront her accuser. However, the court also found that the error was “harmless” because the jury would have convicted her even without the statements, and that’s why it reinstated the conviction.

Justices Edward Chavez and Richard Bosson dissented, saying the admission of the statements was not a harmless error.

The court has not yet ruled on whether to reinstate the convictions of Steven Lopez and Walters.

Brianna’s father and uncle were sentenced to 57 and 51 years in prison, respectively, for raping and killing the girl. Her mother received 27 years for negligence that led to the girl’s death.

The case was one of seven child deaths in a four-year span in Doña Ana County that shocked the community and led to a toughening of state laws regarding child abuse resulting in death. Brianna, whose case was by far the most egregious, became the icon for the movement to toughen the laws.

The overturning of the convictions further shocked the community and reopened wounds that had not yet healed. Prosecutors have said they’ll retry any of the cases in which the Supreme Court doesn’t reinstate convictions.
 

UPDATE: January 28, 2009

Not one photograph exists of Brianna in life. There are autopsy photos that are out there, I refuse to show children in that state. I was able to locate this one picture of her grave where I was glad to see that people ARE going against the wishes of her parents and honoring her memory with flowers. I can't imagine what kind of monsters would build a cage around a grave in order to keep the people who wish to honor the memory of a child, from doing that. I can't imagine a cemetery allowing this to happen. These people KILLED this child, they have no more rights to her! Since her death, a new grave marker has been built outside of the cage her selfish family has put up and people DO leave things for her.

GOD BLESS THEM!

Brianna's grave before she was put in a cage.



Brianna's grave after she was put in a cage by the heartless people who do not deserve to be called
her family.

(NOTE: I struggled with wanting to put the picture of Brianna after her death, on the page and not wanting to dishonor her by showing her in death. I have made the decision to put her picture on the site TO honor her and let people know that she was a beautiful baby and that she DID live. I am still not sure I am doing the right thing, I can only hope that I am)

UPDATE March 13, 2009:

On March 13, 2009 Andrew Walters was transferred out of the New Mexico prison and he is now in Oregon's Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. This move was made for his own protection. Steven Lopez will be transferred at a later date. It's disgusting that these two men are being protected when they did NOTHING to protect an innocent baby.

UPDATE:

The Remember Me Foundation has made a bench for Brianna. This was the very first project that was worked
on by this foundation. What a wonderful group of people with an equally wonderful cause they are working on.




Note...In the past I had a link from my site to the "Remember Me Foundation" site. When I clicked on the link today,
August 17, 2012, I received a warning. Not wanting anyone to get a virus from a link on my site, I have removed the link to this page and will keep checking back to find out when it becomes safe to view this site again:

Warning: Something's Not Right Here!

www.theremembermefoundation.com contains malware. Your computer might catch a virus if you visit this site. Google has found malicious software may be installed onto your computer if you proceed. If you've visited this site in the past or you trust this site, it's possible that it has just recently been compromised by a hacker. You should not proceed, and perhaps try again tomorrow or go somewhere else. We have already notified
www.theremembermefoundation.com
 that we found malware on the site. For more about the problems found on www.theremembermefoundation.com, visit the Google Safe Browsing diagnostic page.
For information about how to report child abuse, please click the link below and you will be taken to a page that has an alphabetical, state by state listing of how to report child abuse for which state you are looking for and for some other countries.


Call this number to report child abuse ANY WHERE in the United States!

1-800-4-A-Child  1-800-422-4453








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