Baby sitter, 31, held in death of Montrose infant

A 31-year-old woman was jailed Wednesday in connection with the October death of a Montrose infant.

Maria Espinosa Zavala, of Montrose, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter at the conclusion of an interview Wednesday at the Montrose Police Department, Police Cmdr. Gene Lillard said.

Angel Nieto, 4 months, was declared brain dead Oct. 9 at Children’s Hospital in Denver and had suffered fatal, “non-accidental trauma,” the Montrose County Coroner’s office said.

Nieto was flown by air ambulance Oct. 7 to Montrose Memorial Hospital, unresponsive and in critical condition. He was later transferred to the Denver hospital.

Lillard said Zavala was a baby sitter who was caring for Nieto on Oct. 7 when authorities received a 911 call about a disturbance at Montrose’s West Main Trailer Park. Zavala called 911, Lillard said. Officers found the baby unresponsive and not breathing.

Lillard refused to specify how they believe the baby was injured, but said officers at the scene saw no obvious, outward sign of injury on the child’s body.

An arrest affidavit was filed under seal.

Zavala is being held at the Montrose County Jail on $150,000 bond.

The boy had lived at the trailer park with his mother and father.

The case marks the third infant death investigation in as many months in Montrose and Delta counties.

Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee earlier this month forwarded an investigation into the death of 2-year-old Jesse Dorsch to the 7th Judicial District Attorney’s office. The boy died Nov. 27 of blunt-force trauma and an internal hemorrhage.

Daniel Lee Ryan, 23, was arrested in connection with the Sept. 11 death of 14-month-old Hailey Rocha, who authorities allege was injured while left alone in Ryan’s care at a Montrose home. The girl suffered multiple blows in what the coroner’s office described as “rapidly fatal” injuries.


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