SUPERIOR, Ariz. — The Arizona mother arrested this week in the deaths of her toddler and infant left the children with relatives for days at a time, according to a police report that cites an unidentified relative.
Police in the small town of Superior called Arizona child protection officials in early January because of those concerns about the two children after the relative accused the mother, Brittany Velasquez, of stealing a $3,500 fur coat, said town interim Police Chief Christian Ensley.
But the coat was later returned and the relative did not seek prosecution.
The police report also indicated that Velasquez would not be investigated for child neglect or abuse unless the unidentified family member stated she was no longer willing to care for the children.
Velasquez was arrested after her two children were found dead late Monday in car seats inside a car parked by the home of relatives in Superior, a hardscrabble mining town of about 2,900 people about 60 miles (97 kilometers) east of Phoenix. Bond for Velasquez was set at $2 million.
Pinal County Superior Court Administrator Todd Zweig said Velasquez would be represented by the county public defender's office, where officials said a specific attorney had not yet been assigned to her case. She could not be reached at the jail.
Autopsies were being conducted to determine causes of death of the 2-year-old boy and 10-month-old girl, whose names have not been released. The Pinal County Sheriff's Office did not immediately disclose what evidence was found.
The Arizona Department of Child Safety said Tuesday it had received two reports about the boy and the girl and that a case worker visited the woman's home.
"The children showed no visible signs of abuse or neglect," the report about the visit said. "There were no legal grounds to remove the children from the parent's custody."Comment on this story
The agency said case workers determined Velasquez had a job and that the apartment where she then lived in the city of Mesa had everything needed for her children. It said it provided her with free daycare so the children would not have to stay with her grandmother.
"We can only make decisions based on the available evidence and what the law allows," the agency said in a statement. "The Department acted in good faith based on the information we received and exercised our due diligence during these prior investigations."