Woman who helped hide granddaughter’s death gets 180 days in jail

A California woman who was found guilty of helping to dispose of her 3-year-old granddaughter’s body has been sentenced to 180 days in jail.

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Maria De Jesus Lopez, 45, of Oxnard, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to destroy and conceal evidence in the death of her granddaughter, Kimberly Lopez, the Ventura County District Attorney's Office said. Maria Lopez was sentenced Tuesday to 180 days in jail and 36 months of formal probation.

According to a criminal complaint, the girl’s parents, 27-year-old Mayra Chavez and 34-year-old Omar Lopez, came to Maria Lopez in June 2015 after Kimberly died. Maria Lopez, who is the mother of Mayra Chavez, gave the couple money, lent them her car and told them to go to Mexico, the complaint said.

The grandmother then lied to authorities about the child’s whereabouts, the complaint said.

Prosecutors said the girl died after being abused by her mother.

Chavez lost custody of Kimberly shortly after she was born, when authorities said the baby tested positive for drugs, KTLA-TV reported. She regained custody of her daughter after completing substance abuse and parenting classes, but lost it again after she started abusing the girl, authorities said.

Kimberly  went between foster care and her mother's custody during her short life, KTLA reported. Authorities said Chavez's abuse of her daughter continued until the girl's death.

Kimberly’s body has never been found.

As part of a plea deal, Omar Lopez pleaded guilty to child endangerment and perjury charges, the Ventura County Star reported. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 20.

A jury found Chavez guilty in December of second-degree murder, assault on a child causing death and torture. She pleaded guilty April 11 to several counts of perjury. She is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.

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