Skip to Content

El Paso girl repeatedly abused by mother, boyfriend, according to court documents

EL PASO, Texas -- New gruesome and disturbing details are revealed in court documents involving the death of an El Paso girl who was allegedly murdered by her mother where they lived in Colorado Springs, CO.

ABC-7 still has questions about why it took so long to make an arrest in the little girl's death.

In the documents ABC-7 obtained July 8, Colorado Springs Police Dept. investigators stated the mother, El Paso native Brianne Escamilla, 27, and her boyfriend, Matthew Urias, 26, physically abused Emily Rae Canales, 5, over an extended time leading to her death on Jan. 13.

Both Escamilla and Urias are charged with first-degree murder.

The documents state in mid-January, Escamilla called police, telling them she found her daughter unconscious in her room and tried to wake her up before calling 911. Emily was pronounced dead at a children's hospital in Colorado Springs.

The county coroner officially determined on June 14, five months after her death, that Emily died after suffering blunt force injuries from multiple incidents of abuse.

Police arrested the suspects nearly six months after Emily died on Jan. 13. Urias was arrested June 29, and officers with the U.S.Marshal's Service took Escamilla into custody on July 5.

ABC-7 asked a Colorado Springs police spokeswoman in a phone interview why it took so long after Emily's death for the coroner to issue an official cause of death and for the arrests.

"Well, you would have to talk to the coroner's office about what took that amount of time for them to make the ruling that it was a homicide," said Lt. Pamela Castro, a spokeswoman for CSPD. "We're not going to arrest somebody and charge them with first-degree murder if it hasn't actually been a homicide. And the causing determination (of death) is made by the coroner's office."

ABC-7 called the coroner in Colorado Springs July 8 shortly after the interview with the CSPD, but had to leave a message. We haven't received a call back.

Court documents state both Escamilla and Urias admitted to police they harmed Emily over several days.

Her autopsy report reveals she had wounds and bruises all over her body, including on her head, face, arms, shoulders, chest, back, legs and feet.

According to court documents, neighbors told investigators they would hear yelling and loud banging coming from the apartment. They also once said they saw Emily outside in the cold weather without a coat and with a shaved head. A neighbor told investigators they asked Emily about her coat, but she replied her coat was inside but her mom had locked her out of the apartment.

Documents state Escamilla admitted to shaving Emily's head as punishment for misbehaving. She also claimed the girl was harming herself and was causing the injuries found on her body.

Our sister station in Colorado Springs, KRDO, interviewed that county's Department of Human Services about how Emily's abuse was able to go undetected.

DHS spokeswoman April Jenkins said if a child isn't in school or daycare, there is no system in place to protect them from abusive parents.

Emily was not in school or daycare when she died, according to the court documents.

Jenkins said members of the community should call authorities if they think a child is in danger.

"The children in our community are our most vulnerable," she said. "We are tasked with calling if we see something.

"But I would encourage folks to get to know your neighbors, get to know the people in your community," Jenkins added.

Emily's father Manuel Canales lives in El Paso. Canales told ABC-7 he had been trying for months to legally bring Emily back to El Paso from Colorado Springs, and is devastated that he could only bring back her remains.

"Her family's here in El Paso," said Manuel Canales. "My mom, my dad and my sister- they loved her. My family loved her," he added. "She was so good here, she was so good."

He held a funeral in June and is trying to raise money for a headstone for his daughter's grave.

"You know, I don't understand how somebody could do that (to Emily)," Canales said. "I have to think about that- that my little baby was living in that. Day after day. You know, there's no telling how long it took," Canales added, as he covered his face with his hands and cried.

Escamilla and Urias will be in court separately this week, according to officials with the district attorney's office in Colorado Springs.

If convicted on the first-degree murder charge, they could both face life in prison.

Article Topic Follows: Top Stories

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Stephanie Valle

Stephanie Valle co-anchors ABC-7 at 5, 6 and 10 weeknights.


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content