Gwinnett County

Man convicted of killing 2-year-old daughter, hiding body in attic

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County man was found guilty Friday afternoon of murdering his 2 1/2-year-old daughter and leaving her body in an attic.

After hours of deliberations, a jury convicted Christian Vasquez of malice and felony murder. Vasquez had little reaction as the verdict was read.

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Vasquez’s daughter Prissi died in 2007. Her skeletal remains were found in garbage bags in the attic of the family home.

Vasquez, his then wife Amy Ruiz and stepson had gone to Mexico. Prosecutors say Vasquez hit the toddler over the head and hid her body, before leaving in a rush. Her remains were found months later.

"You have the ability to listen to those statements and realize the monster that did that and led to that," prosecutor Charissa Henrich said.

Vasquez's ex-wife has already been convicted of manslaughter in the case and tearfully testified in the trial.

"Christian Vasquez took my daughter away from me," Ruiz said Tuesday.

The defense didn't call a single witness of their own, but instead relied on questioning the state's witnesses to get its point across. Attorney Matt Crosby told jurors that Ruiz was responsible.

"The evidence is that she killed that little girl in a fit of anger. There is no evidence my client knew she was in the attic when they left," Crosby said.

Sentencing began immediately following the guilty verdict.

"I have never had one where a child was placed in a garbage bag hoping nobody would find them. I can't even imagine what type of person would do that. But this person is here and he's sitting right there," prosecutor Rich Vendever said during sentencing.

Vasquez refused to say anything before or after the judge gave him his sentence.

After listening to arguments, the judge followed the state's recommendation, sentencing Vasquez to life in prison plus 70 years.

"As a parent, you owed her love and affection. As a parent you owed her the duty to take care of her," Judge Warren Davis said. "The young child is not even given the dignity of a decent burial. Instead, your priority was getting as far away as quickly as you possibly could."

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