Rodeo Couple Accepts Prison Terms for Prolonged Abuse of 11-Year-Old Daughter

Rodeo Couple Accepts Prison Terms for Prolonged Abuse of 11-Year-Old Daughter

A Rodeo man and woman, Rene Diaz and Crystal Diaz, have accepted prison terms for the prolonged abuse of their 11-year-old daughter, Annai Diaz, who died inside their home. Rene Diaz, 33, pleaded no contest to torture and will serve a sentence of seven years to life. Crystal Diaz, 31, pleaded no contest to child abuse with great bodily injury and will serve a six-year prison term. The couple entered their pleas last week, and sentencing has been scheduled for mid-September, according to court records.

In addition to the abuse charges, Rene and Crystal Diaz were also initially charged with murder in Annai’s death. The Contra Costa County coroner initially ruled her death a homicide but later changed it to “undetermined.” Evidence of torture included third-degree burn marks allegedly caused by a meat fork. Annai died on March 23, 2021, after the couple called 911 to report that she was unresponsive.

During the investigation, police discovered evidence that Annai’s father and stepmother not only physically abused her but also deprived her of a blanket at night, handcuffed her to their bed, forced her to take cold showers, and hit her with their hands or a wooden spoon.

The circumstances surrounding Annai’s death remain unclear. Dr. Arnold Josselson, the pathologist who conducted her autopsy, noted a large buildup of fluid around Annai’s heart, indicating possible trauma-induced heart failure. However, he also mentioned that the cause of death may not be solely attributed to heart failure and couldn’t completely rule out smothering. The official cause of death was ruled as undetermined, but the circumstances were deemed suspicious.

This case follows another tragic incident in the West Contra Costa community, where a 5-week-old infant boy died in Richmond allegedly at the hands of his parents, Ray Ray Darn and Marilyn Northington. The trial for the boy’s parents is set to begin in mid-September, coinciding with the formal sentencing of Rene and Crystal Diaz.


Author: CrimeDoor

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