Mother, boyfriend arrested in murder of 2-year-old child (2024)

Glendale police announced the arrest of a mother and her boyfriend following the death of her 2-year-old child.

According to police, at about 10 a.m. on May 16, police responded to the area of the 6000 block of West Golden Lane for reports of a sick or injured child.

Police said the mother's boyfriend, 20-year-old Johnny Brazell II, made the call, stating that his 2-year-old stepson, Braxton Lopez, was not breathing and did not have a pulse. Brazell said that Braxton had been attacked by a dog earlier in the morning, resulting in a gash and bump on his head.

Glendale fire crews responded and provided lifesaving measures, but Braxton was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

According to court documents, the mother, 20-year-old Leilah Lopez, told hospital staff that Brazell and her, along with their other children, had been on a walk earlier in the day when they were approached by a pitbull who attacked Braxton.

Court documents state that no bite marks were observed on Braxton or any other injuries consistent with a dog attack.

Brazell told officers a similar story.

Court documents state that Brazell said the family had been on a walk earlier in the morning when a pitbull came up and knocked Braxton down, but did not bite him.

Brazell also told officers that after the attack, he had to take their infant son to a doctor's visit and while away, received a call from Lopez saying Braxton was not breathing.

Treating physicians as well as officers observed "numerous bruises of varying sizes and colors across the entirety of the child's body, to include swelling and bruising to his eyes, head and a significant skull fracture," according to the statement.

Ultimately, the injuries were determined to be consistent with child abuse, police said.

Both Brazell and Lopez were brought in for interviews, in which police said the couple shared inconsistent stories about the alleged dog attack.

According to court documents, Brazell provided detectives with a "detailed path of travel" for their early morning walk when Braxton was attacked, taking place in a different location than Lopez had stated. Brazell, however, was still unable to get his story straight whether Braxton had fallen back and hit his head or not, according to police.

Court documents state that Brazell told officers he had to carry Braxton home as on the way back, he had stopped, which Brazell attributed to a head injury.

Once home, Brazell prepared to take their other child to a doctor's appointment, where he received the call from Lopez stating Braxton's worsening condition.

With contradicting stories and locations, police opted to look at video footage of where Brazell had said the attack took place.

Court documents state that there was no indication that this incident had ever occurred.

Through further investigation, Brazell allowed detectives to view his call log over the time of the reported events.

Brazell's call log would show that he never received a call from Lopez, instead placing outgoing calls to her around the time he claimed to be at the doctor, court documents state.

When confronted, Brazell ultimately admitted to killing the child, police said.

"In the morning (May 16), Braxton was trying to take down a blanket that was covering a window and Brazell came into the room and punished him for doing so," Glendale police spokesperson Officer Gina Winn told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday.

According to the police statement, Brazell told officers he had hit the child multiple times with a leather belt while dangling him in the air by his leg. Additionally, Brazell said he had dropped him on his head onto the hardwood floor and swung the boy's body into objects inside the room, striking the child's head against some furniture.

"Brazell told Lopez what occurred and left the residence to bring another child to a medical appointment," Winn told reporters. "Braxton was then left in the care of his mother, who is there to protect him, and she did not. Instead, she noticed that he had shallow breathing and was struggling to get breaths and decided to give him a bath and then laid him down for a nap."

Police said that Brazell and Lopez failed to call 911 when the child sustained visible injuries and shallow breathing, waiting to call after he was no longer breathing as well as agreeing to lie to police, paramedics and the hospital about the incident.

"Following Brazell and Lopez's interviews, the two were placed into an interview room together. During this time, Brazell was overheard telling Lopez that he killed the victim. Brazell also said something to the effect of; 'The story didn't work,'" court documents state.

Winn told reporters on Wednesday that there were two other children in the home at the time, Lopez and Brazell's 2-week-old newborn, as well as Brazell's own 2-year-old child. Neither child had any reported injuries and has since been taken into custody by the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

Brazell and Lopez were later booked into jail and are facing charges of first-degree murder and child abuse.

No other information had been released.

Mother, boyfriend arrested in murder of 2-year-old child (2024)
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