Texas mother, boyfriend charged in beating death of 4-year-old girl

Jeri Quezada, 30 (right), faces a charge of injury to a child. Her boyfriend, Charles Phifer, 34 (left), also faces the same charge.

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX (WCMH) — A four-year-old girl died after police say her mother and her mother’s boyfriend beat her with a belt and bamboo stick as punishment after the girl drank her brother’s juice.

Jeri Quezada, 30, faces a charge of injury to a child in the March 13 death, NBC affiliate KXAS-TV reports. She remains in jail on a $500,000 bond.

The mother’s boyfriend, Charles Phifer, 34, also faces a charge of injury to a child. He’s being held on a $1 million bond.

Young girl abused for hours

The arrest warrant affidavit states the beating began as punishment when 4-year-old Leiliana Wright was caught drinking her brother’s juice.

The affidavit says Quezada and Phifer had been shooting heroin before the beating. After bruising the child’s face, the mother left.

Court records say Phifer then tied the girl up in the closet because she was throwing up. She was restrained in a way that prevented her from sitting down, the documents state.

When Quezada arrived back at the home, she “allowed him [Phifer] to give her a shot of heroin since the child couldn’t see her mother doing drugs,” police said. The mother then let her daughter out of the closet and told her to eat half of a peanut butter sandwich.

Police say the girl had trouble swallowing, so Quezada began slapping the four-year-old in the head and chest, demanding she eat her food. Phifer then forcefully poured Pedialyte into the girl’s mouth. Court documents then state the girl threw up again.

Quezada told police Phifer then grabbed the young girl by the throat and shoved her into a piece of drywall in the closet.

“It is believed that when this happened, the child’s body created an indention in the drywall,” the affidavit states.

EMS workers were called later that night after the couple allowed the girl to take a shower. They told emergency workers the girl had fallen in the shower, the documents state. The girl was unresponsive when medics arrived, and she was later pronounced dead.

Girl’s death ruled a homicide

The Tarrant County medical examiner ruled Leiliana died from blunt force trauma as a result of homicidal violence, KXAS-TV reports. The girl had wounds from her head to her toes, with extensive bruising to her buttock, abdomen and thighs.

Prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing, but there is no word yet if they’ll bring additional charges against the couple.

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