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People remember Baby Brianna while NM lawmakers look to change child-abuse laws

By: Gina Benitez

NEW MEXICO- People remember Baby Brianna while NM lawmakers look to change child abuse laws
A 5-month-old Las Cruces girl who was abused so badly she ultimately died of her injuries would have been 12 Friday.
Around two dozen people came to Brianna Lopez's gravesite to pay their respects to the young girl.
Lawmakers in New Mexico are currently working to make sure what happened to Baby Brianna never happens again.
At her gravesite, there were gifts, cards, even a cake to celebrate Brianna's birthday.
But her own family made it so she didn't even see six months on Earth.
Brianna's life was brutally taken by the very people who were supposed to protect her.
"I've been involved in a lot of cases in my life as a prosecutor, and Brianna just touched people worldwide from the very beginning," said Susan Reidel, former chief deputy district attorney.
In July 2002, the night before she died, Brianna's father and uncle threw her around the house and raped her.
Her mother, reportedly let it all happen.
"It's a really big deal. Somebody could have saved Brianna if they had just spoken up. So that was, in many ways, some of the most painful part of the trial -- to think that people would not speak up for this child when they had the opportunity," Reidel said.
Reidel said recent changes to the child-abuse reporting law in New Mexico have her concerned.
"A court has recently made some rulings that have changed the people that must report. And there is work in the legislature going on, the governor is very supportive of changing that so that it's clear that everyone must report child abuse," Reidel said.
Though she was taken too soon, Brianna's legacy will live on through the countless people who've made sure her story is not forgotten.
"Maybe she didn't mean what she should have meant to her mother and her father, but she means that to people all over the world," said Vanessa Baeza.
"What cannot rest is her memory. Because she can't go out like that," said Orlando-Antonio Jimenez.


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