From Anita Vega’s appeal: At some point in 1969 or 1970, Vega instructed her nine year old daughter, Margarita, to stay home from school and check on three year old Anna Marie. Anna Marie had wet her bed on the previous evening, and as a punishment had been beaten, deprived of food, and placed in a cold room without clothing. Margarita checked on Anna Marie and found that she had wet a pair of shorts that she had managed to find. Margarita informed Vega of Anna Marie’s condition; Vega responded by ordering Margarita to fill a tub with cold water. Vega then began kicking Anna Marie and beating her with her fists. When Anna Marie fell down, Vega picked her up by her hair and shook her. Vega continued beating Anna Marie for approximately five to ten minutes. By this time, Anna Marie’s nose and mouth were bloodied.
Vega led Anna Marie into the bathroom and checked the water that Margarita had placed into the tub. Upon discovering that the water was warm, she smacked Margarita, and ordered her to place cold water in the tub. After Margarita did so, Vega beat Anna Marie again. During this beating, Anna Marie fell backwards into the tub. Vega pulled her out of the tub and beat her again. Before leaving the room, Vega ordered Margarita to place Anna Marie in the tub. Margarita persuaded Anna Marie to stand in the tub, but was unable to persuade her to sit down.
Vega reentered the bathroom and observed Anna Marie standing in the tub. Vega then struck Anna Marie’s head with sufficient force to knock her out of the tub. Vega then picked up Anna Marie, and threw her head first into the tub. When Anna Marie gasped for air, Vega struck her again and held her head under the water. Vega then forced her weakening daughter to sit in the water. Vega then told Margarita to shower Anna Marie with cold water and “leave her there.” Anna Marie was left alone in the bathroom with cold water running on her.
After watching soap operas for a number of hours, Vega asked Margarita to check on Anna Marie. Margarita entered the bathroom and observed Anna Marie floating face down in the water. Margarita placed Anna Marie on her stomach on the floor, pushed on her back, and observed water come out of her nose and throat. Margarita noted that Anna Marie was “ice cold.”.
Margarita informed Vega that she believed Anna Marie was dead. Vega responded, “She’s not dead, stupid … Bring her out here.”. Margarita wrapped a towelaround Anna Marie and carried her out of the bathroom.
Anna Marie began making noises, and Vega instructed Margarita to place her on the unheated back porch. Margarita wrapped Anna Marie in a blanket and placed her on the porch. Margarita left the door open to enable heat from the house to reach the porch. When Vega discovered that the door was open, she smacked Margarita and ordered her to close it. Vega then “put her … knuckle real hard under [Margarita’s] chin” and said, “If you ever tell I’ll kill you and you’ve seen me do it so you know I can.”
Later that afternoon, Margarita’s siblings returned from school. Vega informed one of the boys that Anna Marie was dead and that her funeral occurred while he was at school. When Vega forced Margarita to go out on the porch to get toys for one of the children, Margarita heard Anna Marie “making noises” that were “weird” and “more deep.”.
Later that evening, Vega’s future husband, Luis, returned home from work. Margarita overheard Vega and Luis having a discussion in their bedroom. At one point, Margarita heard Luis say, “Well, didn’t you know that could kill her?”.
Margarita heard Luis exit the house. Luis then entered the house carrying a box. Margarita observed that the blanket that she used to cover Anna Marie was sticking out of the box. Margarita heard Vega tell Luis to “hurry up” because “if … a policeman saw him walking down the street carrying a box we’d all be in trouble.” (R. 121-122).
When Luis returned home, Margarita heard Vega ask him what took so long. Luis responded that “it wasn’t easy to bury a body in frozen ground.”.
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Filed under: Child Abuse Homicide, cold case, crime, murder, murder in the 20th Century, Parents Gone Wild! | Tagged: 1970, Anna Marie Vega, child abuse homicide, cold case, crimes against children, homicide, Indiana, mothers who kill |