California

Young child dies of abuse at the hands of family members

July 21, 1995
San Diego, California
4-year-old Genny Rojas dies after months of abuse from her aunt and uncle

Genny had been placed with aunt and uncle while her mother was in a drug rehabilitation program and her father was in prison for child molestation. During her stay with Veronica and Ivan Gonzales, she endured burning from a hair dryer to her face and upper body, being forced to live in a box, and hanging from her handcuffed biceps in a closet for hours at a time. Her torture came to an end when she was scalded to death in a bathtub filled with water hot enough to peel the skin from her body. Her autopsy revealed she had burned to death of the period of two hours. The Gonzales’ children informed investigators their parents told them Genny was dead but waited several hours to notify authorities.

At trial, Veronica’s defense team attempted to garner some sympathy for their client, claiming she was the victim of battered wife syndrome, a subcategory of post-traumatic stress disorder, though friends and family testified she was the dominant one in the relationship. Veronica and Ivan Gonzales are still on death row as of the writing of this article.

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