A 45-year-old Topeka, Kansas woman faces a child endangerment case several months after a 15-year-old boy allegedly murdered a baby girl on Christmas Eve.
According to the Topeka Police Department, Lucia Meraz-Arreola is charged with aggravated endangering of a child and an unidentified 15-year-old boy is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, child abuse and aggravated endangering of a child in the Dec. 24, 2022 death of an infant. Investigators said they received a call Christmas Eve after the child stopped breathing at a residence on SE Echo Ridge in Topeka.
The baby died at the hospital.
“Through the course of the investigation conducted by Topeka Police detectives and the Shawnee County Coroner’s Office, the death was ruled a homicide,” cops said.
Police arrested both suspects — described as “known individuals” — on Monday.
Authorities have not explained how the teen and Meraz-Arreola are linked; nor have they specified whose child the victim was.
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Cops said that the teen was locked up in a juvenile detention facility in Shawnee County on the aforementioned charges. Shawnee County Department of Corrections records reviewed by Law&Crime show that Lucia Meraz-Arreola (listed alias: Lucia Meraz-Arriola) was booked at 7:05 p.m. local time on Monday. As of Tuesday afternoon, records said Meraz-Arreola was listed as out of custody and that she bonded out of jail. Law&Crime followed up with the jail and they confirmed the defendant is no longer in custody.
Under Kansas law, aggravated endangering of a child — a level-9 person felony — occurs when an individual “knowingly and unreasonably” causes or permits a child to be “placed in a situation in which the child’s life, body or health may be endangered” or causes or permits a child to be in a drug-infested environment. Kansas law also permits the prosecution of 15-year-old minors as adults if prosecutors show “good cause” to do so — and an “off-grid” felony case like this one would fit that bill. It remains to be seen if the state will pursue this avenue, but if the teen is charged as an adult he would be identified from that point on.
The victim has not been identified by name or age, and authorities have not said anything about a cause of death or potential motive.
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