Melanie Beltran

February 11, 2002  - March 14, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial

Mila Petrov, who was 29 years old at the time, didn't seem to like children much at all and much less, her own daughter, Melanie. A call was made to paramedics only after much debate between the parents of this child. Paramedics found a child who had bruises from head to toe. Melanie was transported to the hospital and doctors worked to save her, the next day, she died.

Child abuse was not a new thing to Melanie in the past she had been made to eat hot pepper sauce and drink from the toilet and was constantly being hit by people in the home, even her own siblings who had permission to hit Melanie if they wanted to.

What could cause the kind of punishment that was given to this beautiful little Angel? Melanie was bad, according to Mila so on March 12, she hit Melanie and gave her two black eyes. On March 13 Melanie was being punished for God only knows what, she was told to stand against the wall while her mother, who was pregnant, went to take a nap. when she woke up, Mila noticed that someone had thrown up on a towel and immediately blamed Melanie. Melanie denied it and as punishment for lying was forced to eat hot sauce and Jalapeno peppers put into her mouth and her head was slammed into the wall.

When the decision was finally made to call Paramedics, Mila started yelling for her other children to get the house clean because the police were coming. When they arrived, Paramedics found Mila leaning over her daughter in the living room where she told them:

"I've done everything I can do"

At that point, Mila pointed to one of her other five daughters and told Police that she had been the one to hurt Melanie. Melanie was taken to the hospital and she died the next day when doctors were unable to revive her. Mila was arrested and her other children taken into the custody of Child Welfare. Each of the children were questioned in the death of their sister and some of their comments were very disturbing:

"There are secrets in our house. We don't tell"

"Everyone hit Melanie because she touched our things"

As it turned out, the house was filled with violence and for some reason, it was all directed at Melanie. The siblings told of how Melanie was tied to a bed with belts, punched in the face by both of her parents, beaten and fed hot peppers on a regular basis as punishment for any number of things a five year old could do wrong. Even though Melanie was the only child to be abused, the other children paid the price of losing their sister:

"All of these kids, to an extent, they were abused, essentially raised in a climate of violence,
taught violence. From my perspective, all of these kids are in the same boat"
Public Guardian - Robert Harris

Mila came into the courtroom smiling and waving at her mother and her common law husband, Carlos Beltran who was not home when the beating took place, though he had in the past abused the child according to the other children who lived in the home. In court was Assistant State's Attorney Martin Moore who told of the beatings Melanie had been given and how she had lost consciousness before dying. Past abuse also came up and it was stated that Melanie was injured before and had burns from a hot bath, a broken nose, bruises on her belly and marks that were consistent with having been beaten with something like a cord, on her legs and belly. Melanie had scars above her ankles which suggested that she had been tied up.

Mila told the court that Melanie was the worst child of the seven children they had, she lied, peed her pants, peed on the carpet as well as throwing up on the carpet and she needed to be punished for all of this, never mind the fact that she was only five years old. Mila also admitted that she had tied Melanie up and locked her in a closet when she had to leave the house to run errands.

At her arraignment, Mila was  denied bail and the right to go pay her last respects as well as being told she would not be able to have visits from her other children, including the baby she had just given birth to in the last couple of days. Circuit Judge Earl Hoffenberg assigned a public defender to her case and put her on suicide watch.

Public Defender Wendy Schilling told the judge that other inmates had been threatening Mila, that she wasn't safe:

"She indicated to me that people have been yelling at her and pointing at her"

REALLY? Does she maybe NOW know how it felt to be Melanie? That's too bad, what a shame, poor poor Mila. Wendy was also upset about a comment that Sheriff Thomas Dart has made when he called Mila an animal, she spoke after the hearing and said:

"My client is a human being"

Sorry, Wendy, human beings do NOT treat their children this way. Your client IS an animal, an animal of the worst kind. Prosecutors were considering if this could be a death penalty case and were looking into an earlier death of a baby who died in 1995. Family said that the baby, named Anita, died of SIDS at the age of three months old, but it was also stated that the baby was thrown during an argument. No one has ever been charged in the death of that baby.

DCF has had no prior contact with this family though they were now asking questions about the care she was given at the hospital:

"The child was definitely a victim of long term, excessive physical abuse. The ongoing abuse at the
hands of an adult. She had burn marks on her feet, a battered face. She has linear marks on her belly,
which could be from being hit by a ruler. Her entire back, shoulder to shoulder, neck to waist is burned,
from hot oil or grease"
Doctor at the hospital

Melanie had new as well as old scarring and as she lay in her hospital bed, dying, it was noted that she had a bruised left eye and was wearing cartoon pajamas.

In November of 2009. Mila Petrov, who was 31 years old at the time, plead guilty to the murder of Melanie and Prosecutors were asking for her sentenced to be more than 60 years though the usual sentence would have been between 20 and 60 years. Carlos Beltran agreed to testify against her in exchange for a 20 year sentence. At her sentencing, Mila told of how sorry she was for what she had done and how she knows that God forgives her. The Judge told her she had turned out to be her daughters torturer and the person who caused her death and then sentenced her to 39 years in prison.

Sheriff Thomas Dart keeps this sketch of Melanie on his desk:

Sadly, this would not be the last time Thomas Dart would hear about and become involved with the Petrov family in connection with child abuse. Angela Petrov, Mila's sister would also be responsible for the death of her own child. You can read that story on my site, here: Angelina Juliette Rodriquez

Thank you goes out again to Tia who searched until she found the name that would allow me to memorialize Melanie and connect her to her cousin.

This page was created on May 29, 2014
Death Occurred in the state of Illinois

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