The allegations were shocking: a 1,100-pound woman accused of killing her 2-year-old nephew. Mayra Rosales originally told authorities that she accidentally fell on Eliseo Gonzalez Jr., but autopsy results showed he had suffered multiple skull fractures and died from blunt force trauma to the head. Rosales soon found herself indicted for capital murder.
Her defense attorney, Sergio Valdez, had doubts, though.
“We knew something was wrong from the very beginning,” Valdez told HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell Tuesday. “We went to visit Mayra and when she told us how it is that she wrote in her statement that the incident occurred, we knew it couldn’t be. It just wasn’t true.”
Valdez set out to prove that because of her weight, Rosales was physically incapable of killing the boy.
Three years later, in November 2011, murder charges against Mayra Rosales were finally dropped, according to court records. Her sister, Eliseo’s mother Jamie Rosales, is now serving a 15-year prison sentence for his death.
Valdez told Velez-Mitchell that Mayra Rosales falsely confessed after Eliseo died in March 2008 for the sake of Jamie’s other children.
“Mayra’s perspective was that she was going to die anyway that she had no quality of life and didn’t know how much longer she was going to be around,” Valdez explained. “So for her standpoint, she wanted her other nephews and nieces to have a mother.”
Valdez said, “At some point, she just said, ‘Enough is enough. I’ve given her a chance. She’s not making the best of it, and so I’m going to come out with the truth.’”
The truth, Mayra Rosales told the British magazine Reveal in January 2012, was that Jamie had beaten Eliseo with a brush because he refused to eat his breakfast. She said Jamie begged her to take responsibility.
“People may not understand this, but I wanted to help my sister and I didn’t want the authorities to take the other children away,” Rosales reportedly said. “So I said that I rolled to the end of my bed where Junior was, my hand slipped and I fell on him. I was scared, but I thought if anything happened to me, it didn’t matter—I was dying because of my weight. I thought it was the right thing to do. Of course, now I regret it.”
Jamie Rosales was indicted for capital murder in May 2010. In July 2011, she pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of causing injury to a child. Months later, the charges against Mayra were dismissed.
Jamie Rosales was sentenced to 15 years in prison. According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, she is currently in the process of being reviewed for parole and a decision is expected later this year. Her defense attorney did not return calls seeking comment on the case Wednesday.
While Mayra Rosales continues to receive medical treatment, Valdez said she has lost hundreds of pounds and her health and her outlook on life have greatly improved.
“Once she got past the covering up for her sister,” he told Velez-Mitchell, “once she realized that she had a purpose in life…she just had the will power.”
Mayra Rosales’ story will be chronicled in the upcoming TLC documentary, Half-Ton Killer?. It is scheduled to air on October 10 at 9 p.m..
For more on the case, watch Nancy Grace Wednesday at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET on HLN.