October 5, 2007 - 3:08AM
Police call child abuse case one of worst ever
Sometimes the beatings came from a military belt. Other times it was a computer cord. When the little girl wasn’t
hit, she was forced to hold her petite frame in a push-up position and read from a book placed below her face.
If she didn’t
know the meaning of a word, the lashes continued.
Police arrested a Mesa couple Tuesday in connection with what investigators
are calling one of the worst cases of child abuse they’ve ever seen.
Ezra Emanuel Hazell, 29, and Kristie Marie
Hazell, 25, were taken into custody on suspicion of several counts of child abuse that targeted the man’s 5-year-old
daughter from another relationship, records show.
“Everybody in my life hurts me,” the child
told investigators at Mesa’s Center Against Family Violence.
More than 100 bruises and other injuries covered
her body and she was taken to a hospital to be checked for internal injuries.
Child Protective Services took custody
of the girl and her 4-year-old and infant half-sisters.
Court records show the girl was abused at her home in the
1700 block of South Lemon, near Inverness Avenue and Val Vista Drive, for more than a month.
based on all the visible injuries and mental abuse this child has been through,” said Mesa police spokeswoman Detective
The girl had been in the custody of her father, police said, since her biological mother had also been
suspected of abusing her. The family moved to Arizona from Texas in March. Ezra Hazell claims to be in the U.S. Army on his
MySpace page, but military records could not be immediately verified.
Police were notified of the abuse after the
child told her teacher and a school nurse at Gilbert’s Pioneer Elementary School that her father and stepmother beat
her with a belt nearly every day, records show.
When police interviewed the father, he told investigators that he
and his wife strike the girl, but that they didn’t realize they had hurt her and felt badly.
He said they sometimes
place her in a push-up position for 15 minutes instead of a spanking.
Also, he said the couple has to hit his daughter
because she loses control about twice a week and doesn’t listen or follow instructions. Kristie Hazell would not comment
August 13, 2007 - 10:23PM
Mesa police arrest mom on suspicion of child abuse
A mother accused of beating her 10-year-old son until he was bloody inside a Wal-Mart was arrested Sunday by Mesa police.
saw Tina Lynn Tatum, 29, repeatedly strike her son in the head, stomach and back with a closed fist and drag him by his feet
at the retail store located at 1955 S. Stapley Drive, police said.
Tatum is on lifetime probation for child abuse
due to her involvement in the death of her 3-month-old baby in 2003. Tatum’s then-boyfriend, Pedro
Peralta, 32, was sentenced to life in prison for shaking the baby to death. Peralta is serving a second life sentence
for suffocating another girlfriend’s baby to death later the same year.
Tatum was booked on suspicion
of child abuse. Her son is in the care of a family member.
|Rest in Peace
|Tyler and Ariana
Tucson father now accused of killing two of his children
Disturbing new information Monday in the deaths of two children; the body of one believed to have
been found in a storage locker.
Monday, a grand jury indicted their father, Christopher Payne, for both of their murders.
The indictment lays out the case against Christopher Payne.
Even though Tyler Payne's body hasn't been found... Payne is charged with his murder.
Also, there are new clues that the children may have died a slow, abusive death.
It's almost hard to believe the words printed on the page.
Up until the indictment, 5-year-old Tyler Payne, Ariana's older brother was thought to be missing.
The indictment reads otherwise. It says, "Christopher Mathew Payne murdered Tyler Payne."
Police have always suspected foul play in Tyler's death. At one point, dozens of investigators searched the
Los Reales Landfill.
They never said what they were looking for and in the end; the investigators didn't turn up anything.
Tyler's body is still missing. The indictment reads that Payne "... intentionally or knowingly moved a dead
human body or parts of a human body with the intent to abandon or conceal."
The indictment also reveals new details about how Tyler and his 4-year-old sister, Ariana, may have died.
Ariana's body is believed to have been found in a storage locker last month.
The indictment says, "Christopher Payne caused or permitted her bones to be broken."
Probably the most disturbing information... in reference to both children... Payne's indictment says
he "failed to seek prompt medical attention and/or allowed the children to starve to death."
Police do not think the children's mother was involved in the death of the two children.
We went by her home, again Monday night to get her reaction to the indictment.
Her boyfriend told News 4 she's meeting with the family's attorney on Tuesday.
He said they will be releasing a statement to the media, soon
Toy Box Killing
Published: August 10, 2006
Last week, a Maricopa County grand jury indicted former Phoenix resident Eric Natzel on two counts of felony child abuse
in the brutal August 2005 death of his 2-year-old daughter Abbey.
Eric Natzel was playing a video game when his baby died.
Police in Michigan arrested the 27-year-old Natzel and are holding him in lieu of $500,000 bond at the Lenawee County Jail
in Adrian, a small city near the Ohio border.
A few days after the indictment, Phoenix homicide detective Jack Ballentine flew to Michigan to see if Natzel would speak
with him. However, Natzel told Ballentine that his attorney in Arizona previously advised him not to discuss the case.
Ballentine also interviewed acquaintances of Natzel's in the town of Owasso (about half an hour from East Lansing, the
home of Michigan State University), where Natzel had been living since shortly after his daughter died.
Early on the evening of August 27, 2005, Natzel told his wife, Amy Minor, in a phone call that he had found his daughter
inside a cardboard toy box with a domed lid.
According to Amy's later account, Natzel had claimed before hanging up the phone that the baby was "choking."
But phone records later indicated that Natzel did not call 911 for assistance until more than 30 minutes after that. When
paramedics got to the couple's apartment in north Phoenix, Abbey Minor was dead.
Natzel was unemployed at the time, and was staying at home with Abbey while his pregnant wife worked full-time at a Phoenix
pharmacy. Natzel told police that he had been spending his days tending to Abbey inside their apartment as he played hour
upon hour of video games.
Natzel insisted that he never physically abused Abbey, whom he told police was named after the Beatles' famous record Abbey
But an examination of the baby's body at John C. Lincoln-Deer Valley Hospital shortly after she died revealed fresh abrasions
on her forehead, small bruises above both eyes and a bundle of inexplicable bruises. The back of the baby's head also was
Detective Ballentine interviewed Eric Natzel and Amy Minor at the hospital separately on that night last August.
Amy defended her husband in that first, brief interview, but later turned against him and alleged that he had been physically
abusing her for some time.
Ballentine asked Natzel that night to explain the many bruises on the baby's body.
"They weren't there this morning," Natzel told the detective, noting that he'd showered with his little daughter sometime
before noon. "I don't even remember seeing them when I picked her up [out of the toy box]."
Natzel also conceded that Abbey had been in his sole care and custody from the time his wife had left for work in the early
afternoon (a few hours after the shower) until he had allegedly "discovered" her in the toy box.
. Natzel left the hospital that night with his parents. His wife Amy left with her parents. At the time, she was just a
few weeks away from giving birth to her second child.
Last February, a county medical examiner concluded that Abbey had suffocated inside the toy box but listed the manner of
her death as "undetermined," not as a homicide or an accident.
Dr. John Hu wrote that he could find no evidence of internal injuries, bone fractures, or any sign of what's known as "shaken-baby
The pathologist also noted that the bruises, however plentiful, did not kill the little girl.
Importantly, though, Dr. Hu concluded that many of the multiple injuries the child suffered — particularly the ugly
and fresh cluster of bruises in the middle of her back — had been "intentionally afflicted" by another person.
That comported with Ballentine's theory that Eric Natzel had smashed Abbey with his fists, probably after crunching her
into the domed toy box.
Many more months of continued investigation ensued, including consultation with medical experts in Arizona and elsewhere,
before county prosecutors decided that they had enough evidence to convict Natzel of child abuse.
For myriad reasons, child abuse cases akin to this can be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors often
must rely on expert witnesses to try to convince jurors that the accused committed the crime.
Natzel faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted on the more serious of the two felony counts, which is classified
as a dangerous crime against a child.