Maria Rivera, Accused of Shaking Baby to Near Death, Had Multiple Run-ins With CPS for Allegations Involving the Same Kid
Maria Rivera, the 21-year-old woman accused of shaking her 11-month-old daughter Stormi to near-death, had two prior run-ins with Child Protective Services involving allegations of abuse against the girl.
Rivera claims she only shook Stormi because she fell unconscious after falling down some stairs, although Phoenix police detectives say hospital staff informed them "the only way to sustain these types of injuries [is] by severely shaking the baby."
Aside from noting that Stormi was still in critical condition in the hospital on Wednesday, a CPS report briefly describes the agency's two other encounters with Rivera.
The first came on October 31, when CPS was called to investigate a domestic-violence issue between Rivera and Stormi's father, who hasn't been named.
The CPS report says Rivera "was said to have repeatedly shoved Stormi into his arms and then she twisted Stormi's right ankle."
"The allegations were investigated and the report was unsubstantiated," CPS says.
The agency notes "[i]ntensive in-home family preservation services" were provided to Rivera and her family.
CPS then had a second encounter with Rivera in March, after Stormi was admitted to the hospital for "croup."
Stormi "demonstrated seizure-like activity," the report says, and an MRI revealed Stormi had a collection of blood on the surface of her brain.
CPS reports that the cause of Stormi's injuries were "speculative."
"A bone survey revealed Stormi had a transverse skull fracture," the report states. "The allegations were investigated and the report was unsubstantiated as the hospital was unable to determine if the fracture was old or new."
Then there was CPS run-in number three for Rivera, for the incident that landed her in jail.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, Rivera claimed that after Stormi fell down the stairs, she shook the girl "on and off for about twenty to thirty minutes," and never called 9-1-1.
Instead, Rivera called her mother, who lives in Maricopa -- in Pinal County -- and had her mother drive over to her Phoenix apartment to look at Stormi.
Rivera's mother arrived at her daughter's apartment, noticed the baby was unresponsive, and "immediately" took her to the hospital.
Rivera told police she tried numerous "methods" to revive Stormi, like the aforementioned shaking for up to half an hour. Her other "methods" included tapping Stormi's face, using wipes on her face, and eventually performing CPR, according to the documents.
After all this, police say it was still an additional 90 minutes before Rivera's mother arrived and Stormi was finally brought to the hospital.
Police say that for the first three hours of the interview, Rivera denied any involvement in causing the girl's injuries, instead saying that the girl had fallen down the stairs while she was holding her.
She eventually "minimized her involvement" in what happened, the documents say.
According to the documents, Stormi also had a "human adult bite" on her left thigh, which Rivera had no explanation for.
During her initial court appearance, Rivera added that it was a seizure that caused Stormi to fall down the stairs.
"My daughter had a seizure, fell down the stairs, that was it," she said.
The CPS report notes that Rivera has other children -- reportedly a 1-month old and a 2-year-old -- that were placed in foster care following the most recent incident.
Rivera faces two counts of child abuse, and her bond was set at $200,000.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.