Mom arrested for murder of 1-year-old daughter

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Routt County Sheriff's Office patrol and jail deputies escort 33-year-old Luz Devina Cisneros from her advisement hearing Friday at the Routt County Courthouse. Cisneros is being charged with the murder of her daughter, 1-year-old Brianna Simon.

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Courtesy Photo

Brianna Simon, in an undated photo, died Thursday morning.

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Courtesy Photo

The arrest photo of Luz Cisneros provided by Routt County Jail.

Memorial fund

A memorial fund has been set up in Brianna Simon's name at First National Bank of the Rockies. The fund is to help Isaias Simon Urrutia with his daughter's funeral arrangements and traveling expenses for out-of-town family members. Donations can be made to the "Brianna Simon Memorial Fund" at any First National Bank of the Rockies branch in Colorado.

— What began as an argument between a Steamboat Springs couple led to the suspected murder of their 1-year-old daughter.

Luz Devina Cisneros, 33, was arrested Thursday evening on suspicion of killing Brianna Simon, her only child.

Cisneros appeared in Routt County Court on Friday, where she was advised of her rights. The only comment she made during the 40-minute proceeding was when Routt County Judge James Garrecht asked if she wanted a copy of her rights in English or Spanish.

"It doesn't matter," Cisneros answered in English.

She was later led by Routt County Sheriff's Office deputies back to jail, where she will remain until a Sept. 26 status hearing.

Police say Thursday's tragic events began to unfold early that morning, when Cisneros and Isaias Simon Urrutia, the father of her child, were involved in an argument at their Walton Pond apartment. Steamboat Springs Public Safety Director J.D. Hays said Cisneros then locked Simon Urrutia, 30, out of the home.

Simon Urrutia called 911 at about 8:15 a.m. and said Cisneros was threatening to harm their daughter and herself. Responding officers forced their way into the ground-floor unit, where Hays said they found Brianna injured and unconscious. Cisneros had a self-inflicted wound to her neck. Hays would not say how Brianna was injured.

Both mother and daughter were transported by ambulance to Yampa Valley Medical Center, where Brianna was pronounced dead.

Cisneros was coherent and cooperative after the incident, Hays said. He would not say whether she confessed to being involved in the death of her daughter.

Cisneros remained under observation at the hospital until her arrest Thursday evening. She was booked into Routt County Jail at 9:15 p.m. Thursday.

Cisneros, a legal resident alien from Mexico, has no prior convictions. She is bilingual, but police used a translator to help communicate with her Thursday.

Simon Urrutia also is a legal resident alien from Mexico, Hays said. He is not being investigated for any crime.

"Dad was very emotional. He's bewildered," Hays said Friday. "Dad's going to need help financially and working through the process of what happened."

'They were good people'

Neighbors of Cisneros and Simon Urrutia described the couple as loving, quiet and dedicated to their daughter.

Felipe Uribe-Morales said he often saw Cisneros and her daughter holding hands while she walked Brianna around the apartment complex. He also said he never heard Cisneros and Simon Urrutia fight or argue.

"They were good people," Uribe-Morales said in Spanish. "I feel terrible about what happened here because that just doesn't happen."

Uribe-Morales said Brianna and her family celebrated her first birthday two weeks ago with relatives in Denver.

Neighbor Pete Hevenor has lived in Walton Ponds Apartments for a little more than a year. He said the neighborhood is calm and quiet. He often came across Cisneros, Simon Urrutia and their daughter playing outside.

"We'd say hello every couple of days because they spent a lot of time outside," Hevenor said. "I'm heartbroken to an extent to have something like that happen. It's horrible."

Court proceedings

Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said investigators finished their work at the crime scene Friday. He said more information about the investigation could become available in the next couple of days.

On Friday, Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James filed a motion in Routt County Combined Court to seal the arrest warrant, arrest affidavit and a pending autopsy report, blocking those documents from public access.

Judge Garrecht granted the motion. The Steamboat Pilot & Today plans to file a motion Monday through its attorney to unseal the documents.

Cisneros is scheduled to next appear in Routt County Court at 1 p.m. Sept. 26 for a status conference. Attorneys may set a bond or preliminary hearing date at that time. If convicted of murder, Cisneros could be sentenced to life in prison or death.

'Worst-case situation'

Police have been working closely with Simon Urrutia, including helping him set up a memorial fund in Brianna's name. The fund will be used for funeral arrangements and transporting some of the girl's out-of-town relatives to Steamboat for a service.

"All I can say is that our thoughts and prayers are with Isaias and his family," Rae said. "This is our first homicide in seven years. It's even more of a tragedy when a young life is taken."

Hays said the case has been difficult for some of the investigating officers.

"My thanks goes out to our guys and the (Colorado Bureau of Investigation) guys for working what is a very traumatic, worst-case scenario situation where you're dealing with the death of a beautiful 1-year-old baby girl," he said.

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