Mother & ex-boyfriend arrested for alleged child abuse; 8-year-old girl has died

MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Authorities say an eight-year-old Mesa girl has died after suffering critical injuries in a case of alleged child abuse.

The girl's mother, 28-year-old Chaimara Washington, and the mom's ex-boyfriend, 31-year-old Brandon Cooper, have been arrested. Washington's 8-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son both had severe injuries, police say. The little girl, named Marlai, has died, according to Mesa police.


Mother ex boyfriend arrested for alleged child abuse 8 year old girl has diedOn Sept. 19, Washington called 911, telling the dispatcher that her daughter had fallen and hit her head. Court documents said when the officers arrived at the apartment near Main Street and Alma School Road, they found Marlai unconscious and suffering from bruises and lacerations on her body and head. Paramedics rushed Marlai to Banner Desert Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a brain bleed. She did not survive.

According to court documents, Washington told detectives “multiple stories” about how her children became injured. Police say she told them she “would use a leather belt to discipline the children when they would not listen or disobey her," stated court documents. Police say she also told them that she would make them “exercise for extended periods... running and jumping over an exercise bag or holding a large book in the corner.”

Court documents state that Washington also admitted “using the belt to strike her 8-year-old multiple times over the past three days, causing numerous bruises.” Police say that a laceration on the girl’s arm was caused by “Washington being upset and swinging a broken broom handle” at her.


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