Elizabeth Holloway's family
said that this beautiful little girl enjoyed playing with her cousins
listening to and watching music videos on You Tube. In January of 2011,
Elizabeth moved into a new apartment with her mother, Crystal Cardenas,
Crystal's boyfriend, Lorenzo Castillo and two younger siblings ages one
and seven. Elizabeth had gone to live with her mother in September of
2009, she had been living with her father's family previous to that
A few days after moving to the new place, Crystal and Lorenzo
started beating on Elizabeth. Crystal kicked Elizabeth in the stomach
and Elizabeth told her sister, who was seven years old at the time,
that she was sure she was going to die. Elizabeth was slapped, punched,
kicked, choked, stomped on and burned and when she was spoken to by her
mother or Lorenzo, they both talked to her like she was garbage.
Elizabeth didn't get any better and in fact her condition got worse
before she stopped breathing January 17, 2011. Crystal carried her
daughter outside and screamed for help and that's when a neighbor came
and started CPR.
"She had her daughter
in her arms and she was telling me to come here. When I went
there she laid her daughter in the doorway and her daughter was just
Webster - Neighbor
Lajahnique called her own mother who rushed over to help:
"I was just giving her
CPR and she just wasn't waking up. Just like cold and turning blue
purple. She was just lifeless and I just wanted to save her:
Means - Neighbor
When Officers reached the home after being called for a child who was
not breathing, they were told that Elizabeth was not breathing and
seemed to have a fixed look in her eyes:
"I was screaming and I
was crying and they kept telling me to move back"
Elizabeth was taken to Rady Children's Hospital where at 11:56 p.m. she
was pronounced dead.
"As is customary in
child death cases, detectives from the Child Abuse Unit conducted
autopsy done showed that Elizabeth had died from blunt force trauma:
"The case has been
classified as a homicide. We haven't drawn any conclusions as
inflicted this force. At this point it appears to be from someone, not
Crystal and Lorenzo were the only two adults in the home when this
abuse took place.
A Community Service Officer at the school Elizabeth attended said she
had started out the school year at one school, but had changed schools
at least two more times since she started with them:
"Elia, as we knew her
by, was just a bubbling, outgoing, very beautiful, charismatic student.
would meet me at the gate every morning and always had a smile, always
glad to be here"
George said that people were shocked and that news of Elizabeth's death
had been gut wrenching:
"Home is supposed to be
the safest place that these kids are. It breaks my heart to that
happened and I do hope for her sake and her family's sake that whoever
this is brought to justice and quickly"
December of 2011, Lorenzo Castillo, who was 29 years old at that time,
plead guilty felony child abuse and while he had been facing ten years,
he was given only nine. I will never understand why!
court to testify against her mother was the now eight year old
surviving daughter of Crystal. This chid had to testify to what she had
seen in the home that day and she told of seeing her mother kick
Elizabeth in the stomach and while she was laying on the bathroom
floor, she started to vomit:
"She was "Stop" and
screaming for help"
Crystal and Lorenzo were both in court that day listening to the what
this child was testifying to.
The child was asked if she could show the court room how her mother had
kicked her sister in the stomach, when she began to cry, the Judge
called for a break. Returning to the stand, the child said that she did
not know why her mother had been upset or how many times she had kicked
Elizabeth. The kicks to the stomach had severed Elizabeth's intestine
and bruised her pancreas. Elizabeth had vomited and then lost feeling
in her legs, that's when she told her sister she thought she was going
In September 2012 Crystal Cardenas, who was 27 years old at the time,
after having been found guilty of second degree murder after she plead
guilty on August 21, Judge Eugenie Eyherabide sentenced Crystal to 15
years to life for what she did to Elizabeth. Elizabeth hung her head
down and cried when family members spoke in court:
"I don't know how you
could do this to her. I just want justice. I'm going to leave it
in God's hands"
Holloway Jr. - Elizabeth's Father
Willie Holloway left the
courtroom after his vicim impact statement, but his father Willie
Holloway Sr. told the Judge that he felt partly to blame for what
happened because he felt he should have known what was happening to his
would stoop that low to do that"
Elizabeth's Aunt Angela
Holloway that the they might have been able to help, but that she knew
that none of them had caused the death of her niece.
was no one to blame for her death except Cardenas"
The Judge said that Crystal would stay in jail for the full 15 years
and then it would be left up to a Parole Board to decide her fate.
Defense Attorney Megan Marcotte use the old stand by that Crystal had
been abused as a child by her own mother. Really? Then why didn't
Crystal abuse any of the other children in the home before Elizabeth
came to live with her? I am glad that she didn't, but you don't get to
pick and choose your victim when you claim to be a victim yourself.
There is NO EXCUSE
Crystal did to this little Angel. IF
she was abused, then she knows how bad it feels and she wouldn't or
shouldn't want that for her OWN
child, she should want better.
Crystal was pregnant when she was being held in jail waiting for trial,
that child as well as the other children in the home were being taken
care of by her Crystal's brother.
page was created on November 12, 2014
Death occurred in the state of California
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