Severity of child abuse acts and deaths increasing across Valley

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

CHANDLER – There has been a disturbing number of deadly child abuse cases recently in the Valley.

One case in particular proved to be a tipping point for police. Three-year-old Schala Vera was allegedly beaten to death with belts in late August. Investigators say her murder was just the tragic conclusion to months of child abuse.

Dauntorian Sanders called police after he supposedly found the baby cramped behind a toilet not breathing. Sanders and his girlfriend, Susan Witbracht, the child's mother, were arrested for the baby's murder.

The county attorney will reportedly be seeking the death penalty. Detective Gary Fuller was assigned to the case. He is a Chandler homicide detective with decades of experience. On his desk you will find a picture of Schala Vera.

It is there not as a reminder of what happened but rather for what they can do to keep something like this from happening again. It is why officers worked so hard with other agencies to get some commercials up and running.

The ads promote a 1-800 number people can call for help. According to the police report, Sanders wishes someone had called the police on him and Susan earlier. He says if they had, Schala would probably still be alive.

In 2008 51 kids were killed by child abuse and over the last year alone in Chandler four children have been murdered.

Police tell 3TV the number of child abuse cases has not gone up too drastically but the severity of the attacks have.