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Abused girl (3) found taped up in wardrobe and offered for sex

The police chief in Mesa, Arizona said the case “shocks the soul”, and that investigating officers would be given counselling.

covarrubiascrop Francisco Rios Covarrubias

Warning: This article contains details of child abuse that some readers might find disturbing. 

POLICE IN THE suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona are investigating a horrifying case of child abuse in which a malnourished three-year-old girl was bound with duct tape, kept in a rubbish bag inside a wardrobe, and offered for sex by a man who was babysitting her.

“This is just one of those cases that just shocks the soul,” Mesa Police Chief John Meza said.

Police said 30-year-old Francisco Rios Covarrubias was arrested on Monday, along with the girl’s mother, who is accused of shaving her daughter’s head to get money by claiming the girl had cancer.

The child had duct tape around her mouth, hands, arms and legs, was wearing only a nappy and a t-shirt, was covered in feces and had multiple bruises, scratches and blisters on her body, Meza said.

Injuries in the genital area indicated the girl had been sexually abused, and she was too weak to stand on her own, according to Meza.

The child was in terrible condition.

The girl was hospitalised in fair condition and placed in temporary state custody. The state child-protection agency had no prior contacts involving the girl, agency spokesman Doug Nick said.

Police said Covarrubias was arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking and other crimes, while the girl’s 22-year-old mother was arrested on suspicion of child abuse.

Court documents released yesterday said Covarrubias told police that he “had been in care and control of the child for the past several weeks.”

The girl’s mother told police that she “had no knowledge of the sexual activity” that allegedly occurred at Covarrubias’ apartment.

Meza said officers found the girl after a man called police to report seeing her when he went to the apartment to have consensual sex with the male suspect.

Covarrubias offered to allow the man to have sex with the child, but the man declined, Meza said.

Covarrubias was held without bail yesterday at his initial court appearance, while bail was set at $15,000 for the girl’s mother. Neither has a lawyer yet.

The suspects worked at separate fast-food restaurants, according to police.

Meza said officers involved in the case would be offered counseling.

Comments have been disabled on this article due to ongoing legal proceedings.

Contains reporting by the Associated Press.

Read: English man jailed for life for “barbaric” murder of his two-week old daughter>

Read: Toddler in Utah horrifically ‘beaten to death over a dirty nappy’>

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Dan MacGuill

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