Mesa Resident Arrested For Murder Of Her 3-year-old Niece

April 14, 2008

photo of Latisha BreckenridgeOn April 11, 2008 at 4:15 p.m., 29-year-old Latisha L. Breckenridge of Mesa was arrested on suspicion of second degree murder and child abuse in the death of her 3-year-old niece, Juliana Ruiz.

The investigation unfolded on March 19, 2008 at 1:25 p.m. when 3-year-old Juliana was transported to Desert Banner Hospital by ground ambulance after Breckenridge called 9-1-1, stating that Juliana had fallen off a recliner and stopped breathing in their Mesa residence located in the 600 block of East Flower Avenue. Upon arrival at the hospital, doctors pronounced Juliana deceased. Hospital staff contacted the Mesa Police Department and the investigation was started. During the investigation, Breckenridge maintained her story that Juliana had fallen off of a recliner and stopped breathing, at which point she called 9-1-1. Investigators discovered that Breckenridge was Juliana's legal guardian. The Breckenridge residence was processed for evidence and an autopsy was performed by the Office of the Maricopa County Medical Examiner.

According to the medical examiner, Juliana's death could not have been caused by the fall that was described by Breckenridge. On April 11, 2008, investigators interviewed Breckenridge a second time and she admitted to becoming angry with Juliana, grabbing her by her clothing, pulling her, and pushing her back against a couch in the residence. Breckenridge stated that she heard a "pop" when Juliana's back was pushed against the couch. Breckenridge stated that she tossed Juliana forward and she fell to the ground. After several minutes, Breckenridge realized that Juliana was not breathing and called 9-1-1.

Breckenridge was booked on suspicion of second degree murder and child abuse. Breckenridge is currently being held on a $200,000 dollar bond.



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Mesa, AZ 85211

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