TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – A 7-month-old baby girl died from an ‘abusive head injury’ last May. Today the child’s 22-year-old babysitter was sent to prison for causing her death.
After jurors convicted Araceli Guzman of reckless injury to a child on Friday, they sentenced her to 12 years in prison Monday for the causing little Juliana Payan’s death.
There was testimony during the trial confirming that in 2013 Juliana was a happy, healthy baby with no underlying health conditions. The child lived with her working mother and two older sisters. Guzman was hired after posting an ad on Craigslist, offering her services as a babysitter.
On the morning of April 22, 2013, Juliana and one of her sisters were dropped at Guzman’s Haltom City apartment. Later in the afternoon Guzman summoned neighbors to her apartment because Juliana was having a seizure and was struggling to breathe. It was those neighbors who told Guzman to call 911. When first responders arrived they found the baby in grave condition with a bruise over her eye.
“Juliana’s mother trusted Araceli Guzman that morning with one of her most precious gifts,” said Prosecutor Kelly Meador. “By late that afternoon, Juliana was clinging to life. Her injuries left her profoundly brain damaged, blind and deaf. In the last days of her life, she couldn’t even be comforted by the sound of her mother’s voice.”
After undergoing emergency brain surgery, for what health officials said was a large hematoma comparable to ones caused by the force from a car accident, Juliana remained in critical condition and died nearly one month later from her injuries.
An autopsy revealed that in addition to the brain injury the baby also suffered a broken leg, a serious neck injury and had been bleeding in her eyes.
Guzman initially told paramedics she didn’t know how Juliana had gotten hurt. During the investigation into the incident Guzman began giving a number of different stories to explain what may have caused the baby’s injuries. At one point she told police she shook Juliana to try and revive her.
Guzman must serve half of her 12-year sentence before she is eligible for parole.
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