Arizona Dad Who Let Young Son Starve To Death Emaciated To a Skeletal State Learns Fate

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According to a report by Law and Crime on Saturday, June 29, 2024, an Arizona father, Anthony Martinez, has been sentenced to life in prison for the starvation death of his six year old son, Deshaun Martinez.

The boy was found weighing a mere 18 pounds and had been confined in a closet with his older brother for 16 hours a day as punishment for stealing food.

The case came to public attention in March 2020 when authorities discovered Deshaun’s lifeless body in the Martinez family home.

The autopsy revealed that the boy had died of starvation and had a skeletal appearance due to the severe malnutrition he had endured.

Deshaun’s body was covered in cuts and scrapes, indicating a prolonged period of abuse and neglect.

Flagstaff Police Detective Melissa Seay, who testified during the sentencing hearing, described the boy’s condition as “just bones” with a “completely sunken in” face, making him look “just like a skeleton.”

Deshaun’s older brother, who was seven at the time, was also found in a state of severe malnourishment and was immediately hospitalized.

Fortunately, he recovered after a weekslong stay in the hospital. The brothers had been locked in a closet for 16 hours a day for over a month, receiving very little food, while their parents slept.

Anthony Martinez, 28, was convicted of murder, child abuse, and kidnapping in May 2024.

On Friday, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. During the sentencing, the adoptive mother of the surviving children delivered an emotional victim impact statement, emphasizing the irreversible damage done to the children.

“A father is the protector, provider, teacher, and the first role model in life. I am eternally saddened, Anthony, that you threw away the gift and privilege of fatherhood,” she said.

“So much has been taken from these children, yet pieces of who they are can never be broken. As their adoptive mother, I recognize the beauty of their natural gifts. I am here to tell you how special and unique these children are.”

Martinez’s attorney read a letter from him in court, in which he expressed remorse for his actions.

“I wish that I could take it all back and do things the right way and protect you from all of this,” he wrote.

Deshaun’s mother, Elizabeth Archibeque, was convicted in 2023 and also sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The judge, during her sentencing, condemned her actions as “heinous, cruel, and depraved behavior.”

In addition to the parents, Deshaun’s grandmother was charged and recently pleaded guilty to manslaughter and attempted child abuse. Her sentencing is pending.

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