Phoenix mom pleads not guilty in daughter's death

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX (AP) -- A Phoenix woman arrested on suspicion of child abuse in the death of her 4-year-old daughter has pleaded not guilty.

Maricopa County prosecutors say 19-year-old Melissa Centeno entered her plea at her arraignment Wednesday. Her next scheduled court appearance is a Dec. 18 initial pretrial conference.

Phoenix police officers were called to an apartment on Oct. 13 about a child who wasn't breathing.

The girl was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police say Centeno told them that she hit her daughter in the stomach two days earlier and the girl had complained of stomach pain.

Centeno's boyfriend, Sergio Luis, told authorities he had spanked the girl and her face was bruised because she fell in the bathtub.

Police say the two could face additional charges pending autopsy results.