On the first page of one report, CPS officials note five times on a page that the medical professional who treated Mauricio say the parents' explanation does not match the extent of his injuries.

Based on the recommendation from Child Protective Services and the doctors involved with Mauricio Jr.'s treatment, the state filed a motion in December 2010 with the Maricopa County Superior Court to sever Ramos and Perez's parental rights. 

The agency told the court that it "feels that the children are not safe in the parent's care until an explanation that matches Mauricio's injuries is provided," according to a CPS report.

Yadira Ramos
Jamie Peachey
Yadira Ramos
Ramos says she can't let go of a suitcase full of her children's clothes.
Jamie Peachey
Ramos says she can't let go of a suitcase full of her children's clothes.

Most parent aides who supervised visits with the children and the parents recommended the children be reunited with their parents. They commented on Ramos' patience with the children, noting she was able to keep them entertained for a four-hour visit. (Another parent aide did describe Perez as "angry, agitated, and intolerant" and Ramos as "frustrated" toward the children, but that was an unusual comment in hundreds of pages of case notes.)

The psychologist working with the parents also said the children should be returned to their mother and father.

One note in the family's file describes Ramos' attorney telling CPS during a meeting that "the parents have done everything that was requested of them" and that nothing had changed since the case started when the goal was returning the children.

That nothing had changed "was precisely the problem," the case manager wrote. "The [doctors] who treated Mauricio are stating that his injuries were inflicted and that no matter what services were done this was always going to be the issue."

Several court hearings took place during the spring of 2011, most with testimony from doctors involved in Mauricio's care who couldn't say with 100 percent certainty his injuries weren't caused by a fall as his parents said. But, they insisted, symptoms such as these were extremely rare in a case involving a simple fall.

By July, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson, who was presiding over the case, made his ruling. 

From his decision, it's obvious that Thompson was moved by the parents' plight, but was persuaded by doctors. 

"That the parents dearly love and are devoted to their children is evident by their diligent attendance at all services throughout this case," Thompson wrote in his decision to terminate the parents' rights to the toddlers. "If the depth of a parent's love and sincere regret were the standard for the decision, perhaps this case would be decided differently."

The parents appealed that decision to the Arizona Court of Appeals, which upheld the lower court's ruling. The couple borrowed money from friends and employers to hire an attorney to file another petition for appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. 

The Supreme Court declined to hear their case. 


Ramos and Perez don't know where their children are anymore. But Ramos says she isn't going to stop trying to find out.

She frequently calls English-speaking friends who are helping her search for an attorney who will take a look at her case and perhaps find a way to reunite her with her son and daughter.

If Mauricio Jr. and Kimberly have been adopted — and that adoption has been finalized for a year or more — the parents' continued fight may be futile.

Arizona state law indicates that after one year from the date the adoption decree is finalized, no one can come back and challenge the adoption based on "any irregularity" or attack the validity of the adoption. 

Even if the children are still in foster care, the parents' chances of reuniting with them are not significantly better. In the eyes of Arizona state law, the parents are like strangers to the toddlers. If they want parental rights "restored," they would have to qualify as adoptive parents and adopt their own children.

And given that the state already has removed the children from their care — and the courts have not been swayed by their appeals — it's unlikely the couple would qualify.

Sitting on the edge of a couch in her new apartment and sharing her story with New Times earlier this summer, Ramos says she just doesn't understand how two years have managed to pass without her being allowed to hold her babies. Her eyes get watery. 

About a half-hour into the interview, there's a knock on the door. It's Perez, wiping sweat off his forehead. He rode his bicycle to Ramos' apartment on this warm July evening.

The stress of losing their children took its toll on the couple; they separated in October 2011.

They agreed to remain friends. 

"We kept arguing and blaming each other," says Perez, who looks just like the boy in his son's baby pictures. "She was blaming me, saying I should have been paying attention. I was blaming her for getting up. We just knew that we couldn't keep living together when we were so unhappy. It just wasn't a happy home anymore."

They did vow to keep searching for ways to reunite with their children.

"Just too much time has passed," Perez says, his face hard, brows furrowed. "This isn't right. It's time for the children to come home."

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26 comments
urineorurout
urineorurout

It blows my mind that more people aren't bothered by this kind of shit. The apathy could only be worse if it were due (even in part) to the citizenship status of the parents featured in this article. Maybe a Kardashian angle should be worked in to every hard hitting news story.        

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

Fucking CPS, what a bunch of duchebags they are and the family courts are not any better.

None of them care about the truth, only a conviction is all that mattered in this case.

CPS needs some serious house cleaning.

dstroebel
dstroebel

All evidence points to innocence. Could what we are reading is a person in the clutches of the prison industrial complex? Google it and learn more why seemingly innocent people are sent to prison. Some judges receive as much as $30,000 for a single conviction. The US has a 99 percent prosecution rate while other countries trail far behind. Why?

ewthorne
ewthorne

I am curious as to what ethnic groups the children who taken away for good were.  Is there a breakdown of each group?

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

Nice reporting and writing.  This is exactly what I'd love to see more of from PNT

Pakrat4ever
Pakrat4ever

For years CPS has be rightly criticized for not taking appropriate steps to protect childen and they have ended up Dead; so now maybe they are going overboard to protect themselves. There seems to be a very thin line between abuse and accidents; and it looks like the Trauma doctors are becoming the Judge and the Jury, in determining the difference between the two according to the evidence of their examinations.  Sometimes things ain't what the seem; and the parents end up on the short end of the stick. Could this be one of those times?

rockymissouri1
rockymissouri1

This is OUTRAGEOUS...!! Restore the children to their parents..!! ASAP ....

APS.ie
APS.ie

In the history of SBS, thousands of cases around the world, NOBODY HAS EVER WITNESSED A BABY BEING SHAKEN TO DEATH, or even to the point where one of the Triad of symptoms has ever been demonstrated. 


Prosecutors love this, you don't need a smoking gun, witness or any evidence other than a doctor willing to state that the Triad of symptoms was present. No bruise, fracture, abrasion, neck injury from the head flopping around, no telltale thumb imprints on the baby's chest from gripping the child too firmly. How many children bounce around in Jolly Jumpers and how many die from this?

In hundreds of cases now where nannycams have caught people shaking babies, not one of these infants ever demonstrated even one of the triad of symptoms! How can this myth have survived for so long? In fact many babies developed the symptoms shortly (10 days or so) after vaccination. The Dr who originally came up with the theory no longer stands by it and testifies FOR parents. 


What do we need for science to catch up? do we need MythBusters or Hollywood to finally dispel the myth of SBS? Dr John Lloyd and others have shown conclusively that the Triad can only be demonstrated by short falls and there will be other injuries. 

The shame of this is not just the innocent grieving parents being prosecuted but also for the babies who have died. If we put this myth to bed we could find a cause and cure for SIDS. Shame on doctors who still cling to this, I hope this couple sue. Well done to Police for a job well done.

naoma
naoma

I can never understand people who hit or slap their children.  Our only child was raised without EVER being slapped, hit or beaten in any way.  Both of us agreed this was the only way to raise a child.  She is a happy and wonderful adult now and says she had the BEST CHILDHOOD of anyone she ever met.

JeremyPraay
JeremyPraay

"Amongst clinical practitioners, from pediatricians to radiologists, from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the World Health Organization, the validity of AHT as a medical diagnosis is unquestioned." 

Once again, we are met with the straw man argument.  

No one is questioning whether or not head trauma exists.  What is being questioned, is shaken baby syndrome, which is a subset of abusive head trauma.  More specifically, can a doctor can make a diagnosis of shaking based merely on the constellation of injuries, i.e. the triad?  While nearly all active physicians on both sides of this debate will say that the triad alone is never sufficient, we seem to find case, after case, after case, where people are sentenced to prison, often for decades, based on this medical finding alone.  Worse, clear signs of infection and other diseases and conditions are commonly ignored and/or considered non-contributory.

SueLuttner
SueLuttner

Commendations, Monica Alonzo and New Times editors, for your thoughtful treatment of a difficult subject.

Incredible as it seems if you haven't seen it yourself, doctors---and now social workers---trained in a flawed model of infant head injury have been over-diagnosing inflicted pediatric head trauma for three decades and counting. While the pattern of intracranial bleeding and swelling that defines shaken baby syndrome can result from abuse, it can also reflect any of a long and growing list of legitimate medical conditions, including accidental injury. I am grateful to the handful of brave doctors and alert journalists who are bringing light to this dark arena.

For the story of one family torn apart when their son's genetic disorder was misdiagnosed as a shaking injury, please see http://onsbs.com/prologue/

totenkopf.andy
totenkopf.andy

Who cares? illegals are illegal. Look how much money they have cost US taxpayers already.

918thor
918thor

@APS.ie yes, I think we need crash test dummies for babies to disprove the shaken baby syndrome. The boy had a skull fracture. That sounds like a fall to me. You don't get that from being shaken.

canofworms
canofworms

@APS.ie Nobody has witnessed a baby being shaken to death?? Yes because most people don't want their murders being recorded. You're an IDIOT. Constant shaking of a baby, causing the head to snap back and forth is extremely harmful and studies have shown FATAL in some circumstances. Go ahead and shake YOUR baby, moron. 

APS.ie
APS.ie

@naoma maybe you should read that article before posting. It has nothing to do with slapping or child abuse.

rockymissouri1
rockymissouri1

And how many times have social workers left children in the care of TOTALLY ABUSIVE parents, and who should have been removed....to THIS FARCE, of the complete opposite, and destroying a young family in the process.!!

DWorkman
DWorkman

While I will not resort to name calling since thats childish and extreme - not to mention has no place here or in any adult conversation - I will say that your comment was neither helpful or needed and completely ignorant. Judgements like THAT are part of the problem..

DWorkman
DWorkman

Thats why they have changed their theory from SBS to Abusive Head Trauma AND shaking. Their learning... They know that this theory cannot stand much longer. Does shaking hurt a baby? Most definitely. Is it the cause of many of these injuries? No way. This is destroying families who are already hurting and confused. How tragic.

APS.ie
APS.ie

@918thor @APS.ie  The research proves that the Triad can only be produced by short falls or the vaccination. In the video you see a child shaking himself and producing the same forces wrongly believed to produce shearing of the bridging veins. The SBS Brigade have a mannequin that claim miniscule forces cause the Triad. 


Mythbusters should build a jumper device and put their mannequin in it while Dr Lloyd and others measure the forces. Compare this to a baby bouncing themselves and I believe the myth of SBS would be BUSTED!

Dr Lloyd is an expert in Biomechanical studies, he has also raised concerns that football helmets protect the skull and not the brain. If SBS were possible the boxing would certainly produce the Triad as would most sports. He also has done some great work for the government with car crash safety. 

Having read many post mortems from these cases, it is despicable that a grieving parent can be accused on the flimsiest evidence. Lives are destroyed from this junk science and babies are dying of SIDS because many believe this myth of SBS. 

In Ireland for example, in a decade there were 21 cases of SBS. Only one resulted in a prosecution and in that case there was a skull fracture, bruises and broken bones, AND an admission of guilt. You can bet in the other 20 cases that children were wrongly removed from grieving parents. 


It's time to put the myth of SBS to the scrapheap of junk science.

dstroebel
dstroebel

@canofworms @APS.ie Lets see. You said most people don't want their murders recorded, but you seeming left out spouses that hide nanny cams to catch their spouse/nanny/babysitter abusing their children and this is well documented in the media. Wrongful convictions exists and documented court evidence corroborates this fact. You will not understand until someone you know is wrongfully convicted-possible you too. Google, "wrongful shaken baby convictions," read testimonies from actual doctors who say SBS was not diagnosed, yet family services are notified and prosecutors manufacture false and misleading statements to secure a conviction-and prison sentence. It happens every day. Read, read , read...

naoma
naoma

@APS.ie @naoma   I am aware that the baby "fell off the bed."  I never said it was slapped nor hit -- just my assessment of how I raised my one child without any slapping or hitting.  I do not know how anyone can shake a baby.  

DWorkman
DWorkman

Wow. 1000 to 8000... Pretty large gap!

 
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