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3 women face more serious charges in Tucson toddler's death

3 women face more serious charges in Tucson toddler's death

CREATED Mar 12, 2012

Reporter: Kevin Keen

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Three women now face upgraded murder charges in the death of a Tucson toddler. In January, law enforcement said one-year-old Za'Naya Flores died after having seizures and going into cardiac arrest. The Pima County medical examiner’s office later confirmed she died of malnutrition.

Prosecutors say Kiyana Higgins, Keshawna Higgins and Clara Huyghuea were involved in the death. Kiyana Higgins was Za'Naya's mother. The other women were relatives.

Prosecutors said all three originally faced charges of second-degree murder and child abuse until a recent grand jury indictment resulting in charges of first-degree murder.

Tucson Police Department wrote in a news release Monday: "In addition to failing to care for the victim's basic needs, the indictment also alleges that the three defendants knew, or should have known, that the child needed medical attention, then failed to seek medical attention, resulting ultimately in her death."

Investigators cited the autopsy report, released late last month, which ruled the cause of death was “a homicide ascribed to malnutrition."