Arizona Boy, 6, Dies After Allegedly Being Kept in Closet For a Month; Parents and Grandmother Charged

The parents and grandmother of a malnourished six-year-old boy who died in Arizona after allegedly being kept in a closet for a month have been arrested, authorities said.

Anthony Jose Archibeque-Martinez, 23, Elizabeth Archibeque-Martinez, 26, and Ann Marie Martinez, 50, are all charged with first degree felony homicide and two counts of child abuse, the Flagstaff Police Department said in a news release.

Police officers responded to an address in the 3100 block of North Monte Vista Drive in Flagstaff, Arizona, at around 12:30 p.m. local time on Monday after receiving a report about an unresponsive child.

Officers immediately began life-saving efforts at the home until medical personnel arrived, police said. Medical personnel were unable to resuscitate the boy and he was pronounced dead.

Detectives arrived at the address and began investigating, interviewing family members about the boy's death and conducting a search warrant.

The Flagstaff Police Department said there were no obvious signs of trauma to the boy, but he appeared malnourished.

The boy's parents admitted that the child—along with his seven-year-old brother, who police said also looked malnourished—had been kept in a bedroom closet and denied food at times.

Both parents said the boys were kept in the closet because they were stealing food by sneaking out at night while their parents were asleep, police said.

Police said both parents estimated that the boys had been kept in the closet for around a month.

The grandmother told police she was aware of the condition the boys were kept in and admitted that she disciplined them when they stole food.

Officers from the Arizona Department of Child Safety took the seven-year-old boy as well as his siblings, aged two and four, into their custody, police said.

A DCS spokesperson told Newsweek that there had been a report to the department involving two allegations of abuse against a sibling of the victim in 2013.

The spokesperson said both allegations were unsubstantiated and the case was closed after the parents took part in voluntary in-home services.

"DCS mourns the tragic loss of this innocent life," the spokesperson said in a statement. "We can confirm the child's siblings are currently in DCS care and are receiving the care and services necessary to help them during this difficult time. The DCS and law enforcement investigations are ongoing."

The statement added: "Keeping children safe is the Department's top priority. However, DCS cannot investigate child abuse and neglect unless we receive a report from the community. We ask that if you reasonably suspect that a child is being abused or neglected report it to DCS at 888-SOS-CHILD (888-767-2445). Your information will be kept confidential."

Police said the investigation into the 6-year-old boy's death is ongoing and a medical examiner's report to determine the cause of death is pending. No other information can be provided at this time, police added.

The Flagstaff Police Department have been contacted for additional comment.

This article has been updated with a statement from the Department of Child Safety.

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Stock photo. A six-year-old boy in Arizona boy died after he was allegedly kept in closet for a month. Getty
Arizona Boy, 6, Dies After Allegedly Being Kept in Closet For a Month; Parents and Grandmother Charged | U.S.