FBI – Sophia Monique Zayas Gets 15 Years For Conviction On Child Abuse Resulting In Death
ALBUQUERQUE – Senior U.S. District Judge Robert C. Brack sentenced Sophia Monique Zayas, 36, Thursday afternoon in federal court in Las Cruces to 15 years of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release for her conviction on a child abuse resulting in great bodily harm charge.
Zayas’ conviction arose out of conduct occurring Oct. 21 and 22, 2007, that resulted in the death of her 2-month-old daughter.
Judge Brack sentenced Zayas based on a guilty plea entered Feb. 24, 2014.
U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge James C. Langenberg of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Special Agent in Charge Nicholas J. Dorval of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 814, announced Zayas’ sentence.
The FBI and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations arrested Sophia Zayas and her husband Peter John Zayas, 33, in April 2012 on charges that between Oct. 21, 2007 and Oct. 22, 2007, the couple caused the death of their 2-month-old infant daughter.
In November 2012, a 16-count superseding indictment was filed charging the couple with second-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death, child abuse resulting in great bodily harm, and other child abuse-related offenses. At the time of the offenses alleged in the superseding indictment, Peter Zayas was a sergeant with the U.S. Air Force and stationed at Holloman Air Force Base.
On Feb. 24, 2014, Sophia Zayas pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in great bodily harm and admitted that from Aug. 16, 2007 through Oct. 22, 2007, she placed her daughter in a situation, which endangered the infant’s life. In her plea agreement, Sophia Zayas admitted that the infant suffered posterior transverse skull fractures, rib fractures, and radius and ulna fractures as a result of her conduct. The infant died of her injuries Oct. 22, 2007.
Peter Zayas pleaded guilty to negligent child abuse five-days earlier, on Feb. 19, 2014. In his plea agreement, Peter Zayas admitted that from Aug. 16, 2007 through Oct. 22, 2007, he permitted his infant to be in a situation that endangered her life knowing that there was a foreseeable risk that she would be physically harmed or killed by leaving her in Sophia Zayas’ care knowing that Sophia Zayas had a history of alcohol abuse.
Peter Zayas acknowledged that the infant died on Oct. 22, 2007, as a result of his negligence because it was foreseeable to him that leaving the infant in Sophia Zayas’ care could lead to harm given her alcohol consumption and binge drinking during the Oct. 14, 2007 through Oct. 22, 2007 timeframe.
Sophia Zayas and Peter Zayas have been in federal custody since their arrests. Peter Zayas is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 2, 2018.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maria Y. Armijo and John A. Balla of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.