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LCPD: Las Cruces stepmother, friend charged after 2-year-old girl is beaten with belt

Police say a stepmother and her friend have been arrested and charged with child abuse after a two-year-old was found severely beaten at a home in Las Cruces over the weekend.

Police say Desirae Nichole Vargas, 30 and Anika Samario , 18, were arrested Saturday. Vargas, of Las Cruces, has been charged with a first-degree felony count of reckless child abuse resulting in death or great bodily harm. Samario is charged with third-degree felony count of child abuse.

Police say they were called to Vargas’ home on the 1100 block of Montana Avenue – just after 7 a.m. – after a neighbor heard a child in distress.

After arriving at the home, investigators say officers spoke to Vargas, the stepmother of the child. While there, officers observed multiple bruises on the child, police said.

Police say the child was initially transported to Mountainview Regional Medical Center, but later transferred to the University Medical Center in El Paso.

” At the hospital, the young girl was found to have multiple bruises to an eye, her face, neck, arms, torso, abdomen, back, buttocks, genitalia, legs and feet, ” a police news release stated. ” She also appeared to have bite marks on her buttocks. ”

Police say doctors told investigators the child also suffered from rhabdomyolysis , a serious condition police say is caused by muscle injury, which can lead to kidney failure.

Investigators say the girl had swelling in her abdomen and was close to renal failure.

Investigators also claim Samario and another friend of Vargas have been staying at the home for the past two days.

Police say Samario told investigators that Vargas began beating the child with a leather belt at about midnight and continued doing so for most of the morning until shortly before police arrived.

Investigators say Samario said she heard the girl repeatedly ask Vargas to stop.

Police say Vargas is married to the child’s father, who was incarcerated at the time of the incident.

Vargas and Samario are initially being held without bond at the detention center. Police say the 2-year-old girl remains hospitalized in El Paso.

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