Alvarez sentenced to life without parole
By Justin Cripe - GoshenNews.com
September 24, 2007
An Elkhart mom who pleaded guilty to killing her
four children was sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday
morning in Elkhart County Circuit Court.
Angelica Alvarez, 27, was charged with four counts
of murder following the death of her four children — Jennifer Lopez,
8, Gonzalo Lopez, 6, Daniel Valdez, 4, and Jessica Valdez, 2 — who
were found strangled inside their Elkhart home in November. As part of
a plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to the charge on Sept. 4 of this
year after being found competent to stand trial.
Prior to sentencing, defense attorney Juan Garcia
told Circuit Court Judge Terry Shewmaker that Alvarez has expressed
remorse for her actions.
“In spite of what she did, I don’t want anyone in
the public to think that she is a monster,” Garcia said.
Prior to the deaths of the children, Alvarez left a
note explaining what she had done and why. According to the note,
Alvarez expressed that her husband was in the process of leaving her
and she did not feel that she was capable to taking care of the four
Previous testimony had suggested that the children
had been drugged before they were killed. Prosecuting Attorney Curtis
T. Hill presented toxicology reports that showed that the children
were not drugged. Hill argued that Alvarez was competent enough to
know precisely what she was doing at the time of the murder, despite
treatment at a state mental health hospital in Logansport.
“There was a clear conscious at the time. She had a
plan and systematically thought it through and executed it. That
equals murder,” Hill said.
Garcia told the court that Alvarez has “severe
mental health issues” and noted that those suffering from physical
health issues are “treated until they get better.”
“Mental health issues should be treated with the
same severity as physical health issues,” Garcia said.
After sentencing, Gonzalo Lopez, the father of the
two eldest children, spoke to the court about how the events have
impacted him. He said that despite the events, he hold no ill will
“I have peace and tranquility and have forgiven
her,” Lopez said through a translator.
Hill said that he would have preferred the death
penalty for Alvarez, but opted against seeking it as punishment.
“This didn’t have to happen, but locking her up for
the rest of her life does,” Hill said.
Alvarez stated through a translator that she has
“sincerely repented and I accept my responsibility.”
Alvarez will be incarcerated at the Indiana
Department of Corrections.
Angelica Alvarez agrees to lifelong sentence for
killing four children
By Justin Leighty - Etruth.com
September 5, 2007
GOSHEN -- When Angelica Alvarez went to her
basement the evening of Nov. 14, 2006, she didn't know her husband
would be home in time to save her life.
It was a life she no longer wanted, one she tried
to end right after she ended the lives of her four children.
It's a life she'll spend in prison or in a mental
She pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon to four counts
of murder, one for each child, and she agreed to a life sentence
without parole. She gave up any right to use her mental illness to
seek a lighter sentence, and in exchange prosecutors agreed they won't
seek the death penalty.
One of her attorneys, Juan Garcia Jr., shed some
light on the details of what happened that night in Elkhart, both in
court and after the hearing concluded.
It was his questioning before Elkhart Circuit Judge
Terry Shewmaker that led to Alvarez's description of events.
"On that date," Garcia asked her, "would you agree
that you decided to kill yourself and your four children?"
"Si," she said, dabbing her eyes. She began to cry
as Garcia questioned her about details of the crime.
She took the four children to the basement.
"They were sleeping," she said through an
interpreter. She said she gave them sleeping pills.
First she strangled 4-year-old Daniel Valdez. Then
she strangled Daniel's 2-year-old sister, Jessica. Next was 6-year-old
Gonzalo Lopez, half-brother to Daniel and Jessica. Finally their
mother killed Gonzalo's sister, Jennifer, 8, in the same way, hands
around the child's neck.
She wrote a note on her computer explaining the
situation, then moved into another room. She laid the children's
bodies on the floor and tried to kill herself.
She used an electrical cord to hang herself, but it
didn't work, so she took several sleeping pills.
Explaining later, Garcia said, "It's rather complex
what led to all of this. It's basically a situation where she was
feeling overwhelmed," he said. She'd been to Elkhart General Hospital
for mental-health issues, but after she got out "she was basically
untreated," he said.
"She thought the children would be better off in
heaven. That sounds odd to you and me, but that's where she was
mentally at the time," Garcia said.
Her husband, Fernando Valdez, got home and found
the children dead and thought his wife also was dead. She recovered at
Elkhart General Hospital and was charged with four murders.
Shewmaker ordered two doctors to perform
mental-competency evaluations at Alvarez's initial hearing. When those
reports came back with split opinions, he ordered a third, then
declared her incompetent in May.
She went to the state hospital in Logansport, where
doctors saw improvement and declared her fit to stand trial.
After her admissions in court Tuesday, Shewmaker
accepted the woman's plea deal and found her guilty of the four
murders. He scheduled her sentencing for Sept. 27, though it's a
formality, since he agreed to impose the life sentence.
Angelica Alvarez pleads guilty to murdering
By Erin Logan - Wndu.com
September 4, 2007
A sad, shocking
confession in court Tuesday as an Elkhart County mother pleads guilty
to murdering her four children, all under the age of 12.
27-year-old Angelica Alvarez' husband found her unconscious in their
home and four children dead.
Alvarez will now
serve life in prison in exchange for her guilty plea.
the disheartening details of this case, some say life in prison is no
exchange for a crime so gruesome.
While a mother
walks in to court and pleads guilty to murdering her four children,
ages 2, 4, 6, and 8--two fathers, who lived doors away from her wonder
says, “One minute to see them there and the next they're gone. It's
heartbreaking, terrible. They didn't even have a chance to see what
middle school or high school was like.”
says, “Anyone who can kill their kids, in my opinion doesn't deserve
Their hearts go
out to Fernando Valdez, Angelica Alvarez' husband whose world has
In court, Alvarez
admitted to taking her four children in the basement, giving them
sleeping pills, and one by one choking them to death. Then, she tried
to hang herself.
Attorney Curtis Hill admits even though he thinks a plea bargain was
the best answer, it was not an easy decision to make.
Hill says, “I'd be
hard pressed to find you very many circumstances in which a case
called for the death penalty more. Even if we sought a death penalty
and received it, we're talking about serving several years of
wrangling through the appellate courts and determining whether or not
she possessed the mental capacity for a death penalty situation.”
say after seeing Alvarez' tears in court and having many discussions
with her, she is sorry for what she did and a letter she wrote
explained her remorse.
Juan Garcia Jr.
says, “The issue was not only did she want to kill herself, but her
four children. Basically, she thought her children were better off in
heaven. I know it sounds odd to you and me, but that's where she was
mentally at that point.”
Alvarez is here
illegally. She is from Mexico. But, the prosecuting attorney says
since the crime was committed here, she will serve her punishment
here--life in prison without parole.
Alvarez will be
sentenced on Thursday, September 27th.
Mother charges in
22 November 2006
Elkhart, Indiana (AP) - A mother was charged with
murder Wednesday, a day after her four young children were laid to
rest in a funeral attended by more than 300 people.
Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill said he was
considering seeking the death penalty against Angelica Alvarez, 27, in
the strangulation deaths of her children, Jennifer Lopez, 8, Gonzalo
Lopez, 6, Daniel Valdez, 4, and Jessica Valdez, 2.
Hill said he filed four murder counts against
Alvarez Wednesday morning in Goshen. He called the killings an
"unspeakable event" and said he was considering the death penalty
because of the multiple murders and the victims being under the age of
Angelica Salazar Alvarez, 27, was not in court
Wednesday morning when the charges of four counts of murder against
her were announced.
Alvarez was released from Elkhart General Hospital
this afternoon and transported to the Elkhart County jail. She is
being held without bond. She has a court hearing later this afternoon.
Hill would not give specifics on how the children
were killed and does not know whether investigators have a theory on
motive, saying Indiana law does not require it to try the case.
"I don't think there's anybody on this earth that
can suggest to me a reason for killing children. So I'm not too
concerned about what motive might be there," he said.
Alvarez was found unconscious with a faint pulse on
Nov. 14 in the basement of her Elkhart home next to the bodies of the
four children, who Hill said were strangled. She will likely make her
initial court appearance Nov. 30, and Hill said he did not believe she
had an attorney.
Hill has not been impressed with the cooperation he
has received from Elkhart General Hospital, where Alvarez was being
treated for her injuries, he said. Hill would not disclose Alvarez'
injuries but said he would not describe the case as a murder-suicide
"I would not consider this as anything other than a
murder at this time," he said.
He said he had no reason to believe Alvarez was not
competent to stand trial but that it would be up to the court.
Hill faced a Wednesday deadline to file charges
after a magistrate found probable cause Friday to keep Alvarez in
custody while prosecutors weighed the evidence.
Gonzalo Lopez, father of the two oldest children,
has said Alvarez was depressed after losing her job and had been
hospitalized for 12 days. Officials at Norco Industries, where Alvarez
had worked as a housekeeper for three years, said she quit in
Lopez earlier told the South Bend Tribune that he
met Alvarez in Mexico and that they lived in Lazaro Cardenas, a port
city in the state of Michoacan. A decade ago, Lopez and Alvarez moved
near Elkhart to Goshen, where Lopez had family.
Hill said the Mexican consulate has been in touch
with his office about Alvarez and said U.S. immigration officials also
have inquired about the case. He said her citizenship status was not a
"I don't think that really matters," he said. "I
don't care if she is an American citizen, I don't care if she's a
Mexican national, I don't much care if she is from the planet Mars,
when you commit a murder of a child in Elkhart County you will commit
a steep price."
Ind. Mom Charged With Murder of
ELKHART, Ind. — A
woman accused of strangling her four young children was charged with
murder Wednesday, a day after hundreds of people attended the
County Prosecutor Curtis Hill said
he was considering seeking the death penalty against the mother,
Alvarez, 27, was found unconscious
with a faint pulse Nov. 14 in her Elkhart home next to the bodies of
the children: Jennifer Lopez, 8, Gonzalo Lopez, 6, Daniel Valdez, 4,
and Jessica Valdez, 2.
All the children had been
strangled, Hill said. He didn't know if investigators had determined a
motive and wouldn't disclose Alvarez' injuries, but he said he would
not describe the case as a murder-suicide attempt.
Gonzalo Lopez, father of the two
oldest children, has said Alvarez was depressed after losing her job
and had been hospitalized for several days. Officials at Norco
Industries, where Alvarez had worked as a housekeeper for three years,
said she quit in mid-September.
Alvarez will likely will make her
initial court appearance Nov. 30. Hill did not believe she had an
Lopez told the South Bend
Tribune that he met Alvarez in Mexico and they moved to Indiana about
a decade ago.
Police: 4 Indiana Kids Were
Friday, November 17,
ELKHART, Ind. — Four young children found dead in the basement of their home were
suffocated, police said Wednesday.
The children, two girls and two
boys ages 2 to 8, were found dead Tuesday alongside their unconscious
mother, Angelica Alvarez, who remains hospitalized under sedation,
police Capt. Steven Mock said.
An autopsy determined they died of
asphyxia, and the deaths have been ruled homicides, he said. Mock did
not say how detectives think the children were suffocated.
He said detectives were reviewing
records of police visits to the home that involved custody disputes
between Alvarez and Gonzalo Lopez, the father of the two older
children. Mock said detectives have interviewed Lopez but that they
were not focusing their investigation on any particular person.
He said detectives found no sign
Alvarez took part in killing the children. Firefighters said tests for
carbon monoxide were negative.
Fernando Valdez, the father of the
two younger children, discovered the bodies.
Ambulances that had left the home
Tuesday night in the city 15 miles east of South Bend were called back
45 minutes later after Alvarez was found to have a faint pulse, police
Sgt. Bill Wargo said.
At the corner of the home
Wednesday, people left flowers, teddy bears and notes in memory of the
Sylvia De La Cruz, a sixth-grader
at Woodland Elementary School where two of the children were students,
left several teddy bears, a rose, a cross and a note that read: "We
will miss you very much."
"I just wanted to show that I
really cared," she said.
Ind. Mother Arrested in Deaths
of 4 Kids
ELKHART, Ind. — The
mother of four young children found dead in their home was arrested
Thursday in connection with their deaths, police said.
Angelica Alvarez, who was found
unconscious next to the bodies of her two daughters and two sons in
the basement of their home Tuesday, was placed under arrest in the
hospital where she has been in critical condition. Prosecutors have
until Wednesday to decide whether to charge her, authorities said.
An autopsy found the children,
ages 2 to 8, died of asphyxia, and police have ruled the deaths were
Alvarez, 27, was in custody at
Elkhart General Hospital, police Capt. Steven Mock said. He did not
give details on her injuries but said she was expected to live.
Mock did not say what led police
to believe Alvarez may have been involved in her children's deaths.
"Details, including physical
evidence, leading to this probable cause arrest will not be
A magistrate was expected to
review the case Friday to determine whether police had probable cause
to keep Alvarez in custody, said Bill Wargo, chief investigator for
the Elkhart County prosecutor's office
The bodies were found by Alvarez's
husband, Fernando Valdez, who ran into the street and yelled for
someone to call police, authorities said. Police initially thought
Alvarez was also dead but later discovered she had a faint pulse.
Records of calls made to police
from the home show custody disputes between Alvarez and Gonzalo Lopez,
her ex-husband and the father of the two oldest children, police said.