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Babysitter's explanation for toddler's fatal injuries 'physically impossible,' doctor says

Denise Cordova, 47, said the girl fell face-first from a stroller on Jan. 31.

CONEJOS COUNTY, Colo. — A Conejos County babysitter facing a first-degree murder charge for the death of a toddler in her care lied about how the child was injured, an affidavit for her arrest from the sheriff's office says.

Denise Cordova, 47, told authorities on Jan. 31 that the 23-month-old girl in her care fell face-first from a stroller and was injured. However, a doctor from Children's Hospital later said it was "physically impossible" that the injuries occurred that way.

The child's mother called 911 around 3 p.m. on Jan. 31 and reported that Cordova told her she needed to come home because something had happened to her daughter. When she arrived home, she said she saw Cordova sitting on the couch holding her daughter. It appeared that her daughter was not breathing. The child was flown to Children's Hospital in Colorado Springs and died from her injuries, which included a "severe" traumatic brain injury, on Feb. 3.


Cordova said the girl fell face-first from a stroller after attempting to stand up when they were out for a walk. However, a doctor from Children's Hospital said the injuries were "consistent with abuse."

If Cordova had walked in the area she described, investigators determined a motion-activated camera on a nearby residence would have turned on. They reviewed camera footage between 2 and 3 p.m. and saw traffic go by but noticed that no video of Cordova or the child was recorded. 

She also told first responders that the child kept losing consciousness after the fall and that she hit the girl on the back "repeatedly" in an effort to wake her, the affidavit says. She went on to say, if there were any marks on the child, "that's where they came from," the document says.

First responders reported that they noticed an odor of alcohol coming from Cordova. When investigators looked at text messages from Cordova's phone they found that the timing of the incident did not "flow consistently" throughout the conversation.

Cordova is next due in court on Friday.

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