Contra Costa County

Rodeo Couple Charged With Torturing 11-Year-Old Daughter Who Died

Crystal and Rene Diaz have been arrested on charges of child abuse and torture

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A Contra Costa County couple faces child abuse and torture charges after their 11-year-old daughter was found dead in their home.

Crystal and Rene Diaz have been arrested on charges of child abuse and torture.

Investigators say their eldest child, Annai Diaz suffered bruises and burns during attacks that had been taking place since November.

But the cause of her death remains a mystery. Prosecutors said the fifth grader had injuries all over her body.

Neighbor Allen Jones described the scene outside Diaz family’s home two weeks ago.

“It was 3 a.m. I woke up to go to the bathroom and the whole front of the yard look like a UFO out there lights and everything,” he said.

Investigators said that Crystal and Rene Diaz, Annai's stepmother and father called 911 to report Annai needed help.

Authorities say when the ambulance arrived, Annai was pronounced dead in her parents’ room, covered in bruises and burns.

“The extent of her injuries on her body were tremendous shocking and help support the charges the defendants are charged with,” said Derek Butts, Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney.

Butts said that the results of Annai’s autopsy are in will re-evaluate whether other charges should be added.

“I would let me get a hold of the mom and dad and let them see how it feels to be tortured you don’t torture little kids, you don’t touch little kids,” Jones said.

Jones told NBC Bay Area he always thought something was strange next door. He said the couple’s four children were rarely outside.

Investigators say had the fifth grader been going to school in person, things may have gone very differently.

“Perhaps if the child has been attending school in person her injuries would have been discovered or the abuse deterred,” Butts said. “No little child deserves that none nobody."

While the parents are charged with torture, they are not yet charged with the girl’s death.

They are currently in a Contra Costa County jail awaiting arraignment. Bail for each has been set at $1.4 million.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled one of the interviewee's name. We have made that correction.

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