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Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 19:10
LAS CRUCES, NM — It was a case that shocked the nation, the rape and murder of a 5-month-old baby in Doña Ana County. Thursday is the tenth anniversary of the death of Brianna Lopez, or as she came to be known, Baby Brianna.
"I was involved in the trial and I live in this community, down the street, so I check on her often and come down to remember her," said Doña Ana County District Attorney Amy Orlando.
Brianna was raped and beaten to death by her father and uncle in July 2002.
On Thursday, Amy Orlando visited Brianna's grave site and gave her a teddy bear.
"We're not trying to sensationalize the fact that she was killed 10 years ago today but the fact that the community embraced her," said Orlando.
Ten years later, Brianna is still impacting the community. Her case has already changed a state law.
A plaque near her grave site reads, "The small voice we never heard" but Brianna is being heard in a different way.
"Baby Brianna has been a voice for other victims, it's changed our law in New Mexico and has made us be a better community," said Orlando.
The Baby Brianna Law was passed several years after her death.
"Now if you kill a child under 12 years of age and it's intentional, then you face a life sentence. When Baby Brianna was killed, the maximum sentence was 18 years for her death,” said Orlando.
Brianna's father and uncle got prison sentences of 60 years each. Her mother is serving 27 years.
In honor of Brianna, the district attorney's office is collecting items for the Child Crisis Center. They're asking for paper towels, toilet paper, facial tissue, diapers and pull ups. All donated items will help abused children served by the Crisis Center in hopes that none of them will experience a violent death like Brianna Lopez did.
You can drop off items at the Doña Ana County Government Center at 845 Motel Boulevard. Donations will go to the child crisis center on August 3.