Two-year-old Bri was dead, with bruises all over her stomach. Her mother, Victoria Pedraza, told a story that didn't add up. She told a police officer in a taped interrogation that Bri had fallen off a fishing dock:
The coroner confirmed this was a lie — Bri, whose full name was Aubriana, died from child abuse. Authorities arrested the only two people who could have hurt her: Victoria and her husband Daniel.
But when they booked Victoria into jail, they discovered bruises on her buttocks and legs. The next morning, when a police officer asked where her and her daughter's injuries came from, she whispered, "Daniel":
Then she began to open up and tell what really happened. Prosecutors eventually determined that Victoria hadn't laid a hand on her daughter. Daniel had murdered the little girl, and for months he had brutalized Victoria too. In that state, she wondered, How can I protect my kid?
Prosecutors decided she was a criminal.
A BuzzFeed News investigation: How courts have treated Victoria and battered women like her. Read it here.