AZ mom pleads not guilty of child abuse to 7-pound 9-month-old

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Ryan Morris (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Ryan Morris (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Veronica Diaz (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Veronica Diaz (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

A Phoenix couple faces child abuse charges for neglecting to feed their 9-month-old baby who weighed 7 pounds when he was seen by medical staff, police said.

Ryan Morris, 32, told police the baby had not been fed since the beginning of March.

His girlfriend, Veronica Diaz, 27, the mother of the victim, pleaded not guilty to child abuse on Wednesday.

Diaz told officers she ran out of baby formula on March 12, and had only fed her infant one bottle of water during the day and a little bit of regular milk at night before he went to bed up until March 19, according to a court document.

Diaz told police she had four other children "to take care of and make sure are fed, so she gave up on the victim," court paperwork stated.  

When asked why she did not feed the victim, Diaz said that she did not know and that she did not have any money, according to a probable cause statement. 

During a separate police interview, Diaz claimed she didn't feed the infant because she wanted her boyfriend "to go away," a court document stated.

According to court paperwork, Diaz claimed her ex-boyfriend had sexually assaulted her around the same time she became pregnant with the victim.

During a separate police interview, Morris said he had money to buy the baby formula but he had other bills to pay first. 

Morris also acknowledged it was wrong of him to spend his money on tobacco products between March 12 to March 19 and not earmark it for formula instead, a court document stated. 

He said Diaz had money to buy the formula because she gets a Social Security check for about $600 on the first of every month, according to the probable cause statement.

Morris added that he got paid from his last job in Tempe but he needed that money to pay other bills, the court document stated.

Morris and Diaz were arrested and booked into jail on one count of child abuse each.

Diaz is expected to be in court again on May 27.

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