Woman convicted of battering daughter up for parole

A Genoa woman sent to prison for child abuse in the beating death of her 4-year-old daughter will get a chance at parole in October.

Terri J. Garcia-Ortiz, 34, was sentenced to prison in September 1994 for child abuse causing substantial bodily harm. She received a maximum sentence of up to 20 years.

No hearing date has been set in her case yet.

Letisia Joyce Ortiz died in March 1994 after suffering numerous blows to the head and body. Garcia-Ortiz was originally charged with murder, child abuse and battery with a deadly weapon.

She pleaded guilty to child abuse causing substantial bodily harm.

But the other charges were dismissed because of concerns that the woman's confession may have been coerced by a Douglas sheriff's investigator. Questions about how the investigator handled the interview with Garcia-Ortiz eventually led to his resignation from the sheriff's department.

"It's in the best interests of justice to accept this plea negotiation," said Deputy District Attorney Kris Brown at the time.

The case also raised controversy in California because the little girl and her siblings had been taken from their mother following an incident in which she allegedly bit the child. California officials returned her to her mother's custody over the objections of the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services.

That prompted Alpine County officials to ask for an investigation of how the county's child protection system handled the case.


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