Mariah Alvarez
- February 17, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial

It's amazing to me how so many children manage to fall down the stairs and die from their injuries (note the sarcasm in my words) and how many parents actually believe that the abuse they heap upon their children will NOT be discovered if they simply say "she/he fell down the stairs". I am sure there are plenty of children who fall down the stairs, but how do they get teeth marks on their body while falling? THEY DON'T!

Melissa Elizabeth Lucio already had 12 children and was pregnant with twins when her daughter, Mariah died from what Melissa said at first, had been a fall down the stairs that had happened without her being present due to a move that was taking place.

Later, Officer Robert Muoz said that while he and another officer were taking Melissa and her husband Robert to the dentist, her heard her on the phone saying to someone:

"Don't blame Robert. This was me. I did it"

Melissa and Robert were being taken to the dentist so that casts could be made of their teeth to make a comparison with the bit marks on Mariah's body. Mariah had bruises and many other injuries in various stages of healing when Paramedics and Police found her little, two year old body. Melissa and Robert were arrested and charged with the murder of this precious little Angel.

In court during the month of July, 2008, the pictures taken of Mariah's body were shown to the jury. Prosecutors said that when Melissa told them Mariah had fallen down the stairs, it was a lie. Defense Lawyer, Peter Gilman, had harsh words for the Detectives as well as workers from Child Protective Services. Peter Gilman questioned Detective Rebecca Cruz about tests that were not done on residue found on soft drink cans and a spoon that appeared to have Cocaine residue on it. As it turned out, no tests were done on the residue that could be seen in the pictures and Rebecca Cruz stated that neither Robert or Melissa had been tested for drugs and admitted that hair and fingernail clippings had never been sent to the lab to be tested. When asked if dental impressions had been taken from any of the children in the home, the answer was no.

A Texas Ranger, Victor Escalon Jr., said that during an interview that he had been part of, Melissa had changed her story about what had happened, before finally admitting that she had beaten her two year old daughter so badly that she died. Melissa was given a doll so that she could show detectives what she had done to this child. Melissa was said to have shaken the doll violently and hit it over and over on the back of the head. Peter Gilman didn't like what he was hearing:

"You're adding things other than what the video shows. You're just making that up. That's a bunch
of baloney. She didn't say she shook Mariah from side to side. You don't have any evidence of
Melissa shaking Mariah and throwing her"

Victor Escalon didn't deny that the only proof he had that what he said had taken place actually did happen, was that Melissa had admitted it while being questioned. CPS worker Jo Ann Estrada said that she was not all the way familiar with the case, but had been working with the family since the death of Mariah and she said that Peter's claims that some of the other children had been considered unruly and hard to handle in their foster homes. Peter wondered why it was that CPS was NOW trying to take away Melissa's rights to her children since being arrested while at the same time, they were allowing visits with the children, including the twins she gave birth while in jail. Jo Ann said that CPS was only doing what was court ordered and State District Judge Arturo Cisneros Nelson made it clear that it had not been his order for the children to see their mother in jail.

On July 9, 2008, Melissa Elizabeth Lucio, who was 38 years old at the time, started to cry when she heard the jury had convicted her of capital murder in the death of Mariah. District Attorney Armando Villalobos announced that he would seek the death penalty against Melissa and that it had been their intent all along to seek the death penalty:

"It was always the plan of this office to seek the death penalty against the mother of 14
for battering her little girl to death. When we started this case, that's why we had to go
through three weeks of individual interviews of potential jurors"

Peter Gilman was still insisting that his client was not guilty and had no confessed to the crime:

"They think they got a confession. No where in that statement does it say "I killed my child",
Three doctors testified that she could have died from blunt force trauma by falling down
the stairs. My client is not up for mother of the year. She's guilty of child abuse. But they
haven't proved she intentionally murdered her child"

Assistant DA, Maria De Ford wanted jurors to look at the injuries on this child, bruises, lacerations and a broken arm as well as hair missing in big chunks where it has been pulled from her tiny head. Maria had only been with her mother for 88 days, after having lived in foster care for two years:

"It was no accident. She beat her, she stomped her, she threw her. She pinched her
little vagina. What kind of a mother does this"

When court ended, Sonia Chavez, Melissa's sister, questioned why there had been so many CPS workers at the funeral for Mariah and why they were now in court:

"When we were conducting the funeral for Mariah, there were lots of CPS people there. Why
were they are here and at the funeral when there are so many children who need protection
and families that need help"

Sonia also said that when Melissa was on the phone in the Police car that day, she was talking to her and that she had never said it was her and not Robert who hurt Mariah.

On July 22, 2008 it was reported that Melissa was sentenced to death by lethal injection in the 13th Judicial District Court:

"A jury of 12 good and true citizens of Cameron County has decided the fate of a convicted
capital murder. Justice was sought in this case and justice has been delivered"
Chief 1st Assistant - Charles E. Mattingly Jr.

In September of 2009, Robert Antonio Alvarez, who was 39 years old at the time, was convicted on a charge of injury to a child by reckless omission. Robert was charged for not stepping in to help Mariah during the abuse she suffered and for not getting medical attention for her when she needed it. Robert claimed that he had not seen the bruises on his daughters until she he was trying to do CPR on her. Victor Escalon was in court and said:

"If he had stepped in and done the right thing, Mariah probably would be alive today. Her
should
have been the first line of defense for his daughter. This case affected me really bad.
It tore me up
and broke my heart, it brought me to my knees"

Robert said that he had gone to check on Mariah that day and found her in bed, looking pale and not breathing. Robert said he grabbed her and started CPR and kept it up until Paramedics got there:

"I felt if I had taken her to the doctor, she would be alive today"

Testifying on his behalf was his aunt:

"He's a good father. I've never seen him angry. He's always tried to be a good person"
Elizabeth Adame

Elizabeth said that her nephew was a hard worker and she would have no trouble at all trusting him with her own daughter. Robert was sentenced to four years in prison for failing to protect Mariah and her the much needed medical attention she needed.

Or course the usual appeals were filed for Melissa, but in September of 2011, the Texas Court Of Criminal Appeals upheld the conviction and death sentence of Melissa, who was by then 43 years old.

Death Occurred in the state of Texas
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