Grandmother of malnourished Oklahoma City 5-year-old is arrested in Texas

The grandmother of a malnourished Oklahoma City girl forced to live in a closet was arrested Thursday in Texas.
BY TIFFANY GIBSON tgibson@opubco.com Modified: July 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm •  Published: July 21, 2011
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The grandmother of a malnourished 5-year-old girl was arrested Thursday in Denton, Texas, on a child neglect complaint. A man who lived at the house where the child was found was arrested Wednesday.

A warrant was issued for Maria Gonzales, 50, after other children in the home told police their grandmother tended to them twice a week while their mother went to work.

The child's mother, Asusena Gonzales, 31, was arrested Monday, the day the 5-year-old was taken to the hospital weighing only 19 pounds. The child remained in the hospital Thursday.

Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said she did not know whether Gonzales was running from police when she was arrested in Texas.

Sergio Almeida, 28, was also arrested on a child neglect complaint. One of the five other children taken from the home of Asusena Gonzales told police Almeida lived at the house and stayed there at least two nights a week when not traveling for work.

Court records show Almeida and Asusena Gonzales applied for a marriage license in 2009, but the signed marriage license was never returned to the courthouse.

Police who went to the house at 1124 SW 36 said the bones in the 5-year-old's arms and legs were visible under her skin, and she had very little muscle tissue. She had marks on her thighs that appeared to be from being beaten with a cord.

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