Phoenix couple accused of burning daughter with hot spoon

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Susana Espriu and Alberto Melendez-Baez By Jennifer Thomas Susana Espriu and Alberto Melendez-Baez By Jennifer Thomas
Susana Espriu By Jennifer Thomas Susana Espriu By Jennifer Thomas
Alberto Melendez-Baez By Jennifer Thomas Alberto Melendez-Baez By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix couple are facing child abuse and kidnapping charges after police say they burned their 8-year-old daughter and locked her in a shed.

About a week ago, family members noticed that the girl had a burn on her hand and were told by her parents that it was from a tortilla cooker, according to Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson. The grandmother took her to the hospital for treatment. The burn later became infected, requiring a second visit.

A few days later, the girl told her grandmother that her parents held her and burned her with a hot spoon.

The grandmother told officers working at the Swap Mart at Washington and 40th streets on Saturday what she had learned. The parents have a business there and the grandmother said she waited until both parents would be together and not have an opportunity to flee, according to Thompson.

Both parents were taken into custody.

According to detectives, at some time the girl was chasing her younger brother when he fell and cut his lip. Detectives said when the family got home, the girl's mother, Susana Espriu, held her down while her stepfather, Alberto Melendez-Baez, burned her hand with a hot spoon as punishment.

It was also learned that Melendez-Baez held the girl while her mother burned her hip with the spoon. They then locked her in a shed in the backyard overnight.

Police said the girl had been burned on other occasions.

Espriu, 23, and Melendez-Baez, 27, were both booked into the Maricopa County Jail. They are each charged with four counts of child abuse, one count of kidnapping and one count of unlawful imprisonment.

The judge told Melendez-Baez he's not entitled to bond due to evidence that he's in the country illegally. The judge set Espriu's bond at $75,000.

She has been ordered to stay away from her children unless Child Protective Services says it is OK.