San Antonio Woman Convicted Of Starving Stepson Sentenced To 25 Years

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A San Antonio woman convicted in the starvation death of her four-year-old stepson is sentenced to 25-years in prison. The jury found Miranda Casarez guilty of injury to a child on Wednesday. Jurors deliberated for more than three-hours on Thursday before deciding her punishment. The state had requested a sentence of life in prison, while Casarez's lawyers wanted probation. The boy's father, Brandon Cervera, was arrested for the same charge after Benjamin Cervera died in 2021. His trial date hasn't been set.

After Casarez' sentence, the Bexar County District Attorney's office released the following statement:

A jury in the 186th District Court sentenced Miranda Cásarez to 25 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for Injury to a Child with Serious Bodily Injury in the death of 4-year-old Benjamin “Benji” Cervera.

On August 17, 2021, Benjamin “Benji” Cervera, a 4-year-old, was discovered non-responsive. An autopsy revealed alarming signs of starvation, a diagnosis confirmed by medical experts. Prior to this incident, concerns had been raised about the child's health. Despite involvement by Child Protective Services (CPS) and a recent hospital visit, the child was cleared.

An investigation uncovered evidence that Miranda Cásarez deliberately withheld food from Benjamin. Evidence further showed that defendant Cásarez placed locks on the pantry to prevent access to the stored food inside. Additionally, disturbing videos found on Casarez's phone depict the abuse and denial of nourishment to the child.

The case was assigned to the Family Violence Division of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. The trial team was led by Assistant Criminal District Attorneys Michael Villarreal and Thomas Damico. In addition, Crime Victims’ Advocate Destiny Gonzalez and Investigator Sylvia Pérez also assisted in preparing the case for trial.

'Death by starvation is horrible and unconscionable. This case paints a grim picture of neglect and abuse and highlights the urgency of justice for victimized children,' said Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Joe Gonzales.

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