Lexington County mother sentenced to 38 years in prison for homicide by child abuse
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– A Lexington County mother was sentenced to 38 years in prison for homicide by child abuse. According to the 11th Circuit Court Solicitor’s Office, in July of 2017 Cynthia Estrada-Lopez used tape to restrain four-year-old Lilly Lopez to her bed and covered her mouth with tape.
Investigators say the child ultimately died from aspirating food particles into her lungs caused by the tape placed of her mouth.
Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard said “the death of this precious four-year-old girl due to child abuse is one of the most tragic cases that we’ve seen. This crime has left a lasting impact on our office, law enforcement, and the Lexington County Coroner’s Office. Lilly’s death is incomprehensible to us and is compounded by the callous nature of her mother’s actions.”
According to officials, first responders came to the Nazareth Road home of Cynthia Estrada-Lopez and her husband, David Steadman, where they found Lilly unresponsive. Investigators say they were able to determine signs of child abuse, such as bruises on her head and body. Authorities say Cynthia told them she had found Lilly deceased in the hallway, but a forensic interview with a five-year-old sibling revealed that the sibling saw Cynthia restrain Lilly to the bed and place tape over her mouth “so she doesn’t cry.”
Upon further investigation, authorities say they found remnants of tape, consistent with a mouth restraint, in a trash bag, as well as a piece of tape on the headboard of Lilly’s bed.
In an interview conducted later, Cynthia admitted to placing the tape of Lilly’s mouth and waiting at least an hour before calling for medical attention because she “did not want to look worse than I already am.”
Cynthia’s husband had been sentenced to 20 years in prison after he was convicted by a jury in February 2020.