Tucson woman facing murder, abuse charges after second baby dies

Kianna Medina allegedly tied blanket around her child’s neck, placed heavy pillow on her back and walked out of room

Tucson woman facing murder, abuse charges after second baby dies
Kianna Arvizu Medina, 20, is facing murder and child abuse charges after her twin babies died. (Source: Tucson Police Department)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson woman is facing murder charges after her second baby died suddenly.

Kianna Arvizu Medina, 20, was arrested by the Tucson Police Department Jan. 7 on first-degree murder and felony child abuse charges.

According to the Arizona Department of Child Safety, Medina had twin girls in January 2019.

The babies — Esmeralda Guadalupe Yslas and Daniella Yslas — were born premature and placed in a neonatal intensive care unit.

When Daniella was ready to be released, Medina and the twins’ father failed to pick her up from the hospital, according to DCS.

DCS was called, but the girls’ parents said their car broke down and they couldn’t pick her up. DCS took no action and the case was closed.

On April 29, 2019, Esmeralda was found dead in the family’s home. According to DCS documents, Esmeralda died from asphyxia while sleeping in the same crib as Daniella.

On April 30, 2019, a GoFundMe account was created to help with Esmeralda’s funeral expenses. According to the post, Medina started the campaign herself and it raised $469 of its $1,000 goal.

“Esmy passed away due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is sadly common in all babies but more common in premies,” the GoFundMe post states. “Esmy was a happy baby. She loved to smile and talk especially to her other sisters.”

The Medical Examiner’s Office determined Esmeralda’s death was accidental and the TPD investigation did not result in any charges.

DCS decided no action was necessary, other than providing the family with in-home services. Medina and the twin’s father declined the services and the case was closed.

On Dec. 7, 2019, Daniella was found unresponsive in the family’s home.

According to a DCS report, “Medina swaddled Daniella in a blanket with a knot tied at the back of her neck, which caused the edge of the blanket to press tightly against her neck. Medina then laid Daniella face-down to sleep and surrounded her with blankets and pillows. Medina placed an approximately 5-pound memory foam pillow on Daniela’s back. Medina then left Daniella alone in the room.”

Medina was arrested following an investigation by DCS and TPD. One of Daniella and Esmeralda’s siblings was placed in foster care. Other children in the home were allowed to remain with their caregivers.

Medina, who is not in the Pima County Jail as of Tuesday, March 10, has a status conference set for April 30.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.