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Phoenix woman pleads not guilty in daughter’s death

PHOENIX — A Phoenix woman arrested on suspicion of child abuse in the
death of her 4-year-old daughter has pleaded not guilty.

Maricopa County prosecutors said 19-year-old Melissa Centeno entered her plea at
her arraignment Wednesday. Her next scheduled court appearance is a Dec. 18
initial pretrial conference.

Phoenix police officers were called to an apartment on Oct. 13 about a child
who wasn’t breathing.

The girl was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police said Centeno told them that she hit her daughter in the stomach two days
earlier and the child had complained of stomach pain.

Centeno’s boyfriend told authorities he had spanked the girl and her face was
bruised because she fell in the bathtub.

Police said the two could face additional charges pending autopsy results.


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