LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Las Cruces woman has been sentenced to a nine-year prison term after pleading guilty to what prosecutors described as a vicious, hourslong beating of a toddler.
Desirae Vargas pleaded guilty to a felony child abuse charge on Thursday and was immediately sentenced to prison. She will get credit for the two years she has already spent behind bars and must serve two years on parole after her release.
Prosecutors said the now-32-year-old Vargas beat her then-boyfriend's 2-year-old daughter for hours on the night of March 23, 2019. Neighbors called police to her apartment in the early morning hours and found the little girl with injuries to he face.
Court records reviewed by the Las Cruces Sun-News show that a medical examination found she also had bruising and abrasions on her neck, arms, torso, abdomen, back, buttocks, genitalia, legs and feet.
Another women who had been staying in the apartment was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to child abuse and failing to report child abuse charges. Records show Vargas, the woman and another guest had apparently been using methamphetamine.
Assistant District Attorney George Harrison said during Thursday's court hearing that “the beating went on for so long and it even included bite marks.”
Vargas' defense attorney told Third Judicial District Judge Conrad Perea that his client's past was "littered with violence and traumatic experiences."
The girl is now living with relatives.