FORT WORTH — A 22-year-old woman was sentenced to 12 years in prison Monday for fatally injuring a 7-month-old girl she was babysitting.
Araceli Guzman was convicted of reckless injury to a child for an incident in April 2013 in which the baby, Juliana Payan, suffered an "abusive head injury." Payan died about a month later from her injuries.
On April 22, the child's mother dropped off Juliana at Guzman's apartment in Haltom City. Several hours later, Guzman called two neighbors to her apartment, where the baby was having a seizure. Guzman "seemed calm" and had no explanation for the baby's condition, according to a release from the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office.
First responders came to the apartment and noticed the child had a bruise over her left eye and was in grave distress. Payan was taken to a local hospital where she was rushed into brain surgery. Doctors discovered a large, bleeding hematoma on the girl's brain that was "caused by force comparable to a car accident or falling from a great height," according to the DA's office.
The autopsy later revealed Payan also had a broken leg, and injury to the back of her neck, and retinal hemorrhaging. Guzman gave investigators several stories about how the girl was injured.
“Juliana’s mother trusted Araceli Guzman that morning with one of her most precious gifts,” said Prosecutor Kelly Meador. “By late that afternoon, Juliana was clinging to life. Her injuries left her profoundly brain damaged, blind and deaf. In the last days of her life, she couldn’t even be comforted by the sound of her mother’s voice.”
Guzman must serve at least six years of her sentence before she's eligible for parole.