On December 13, 2017, 56-year-old Ana Maria Cardona was convicted for the third time of the persistent, brutal abuse and murder of her three-year-old son Lazaro Figueroa.
The toddler was in such poor condition that it’s best read by the opinion of the medical examiner:
“Lazaro Figueroa died from child abuse and neglect. Lazaro didn’t die from one particular injury. Lazaro was physically abused over months of time. He also was neglected over months of time resulting in malnutrition and anemia. He was physically abused to the point of having irreversible brain damage which eventually hastened his death.
“The [final] injuries … to his brain were not necessary to cause his death. They in and by themselves, they certainly could explain his death. But his death was a culmination of all of his injuries.
“Lazaro also had an impending meningitis [resulting from the prior head injury]. Had he survived the most recent head injury, his meningitis would have been fatal had it not been treated. Lazaro was a physically abused and neglected child, and that was the cause of his death.”
Lazaro had been severely abused over the course of his brief little life. On November 2, 1990, two Florida Power and Light employees discovered the child hidden in some bushes in the Miami Beach neighborhood of La Gorce. He was wearing nothing but a soiled diaper and a t-shirt with lollipops on the front.
The media dubbed him, “Baby Lollipops.”
Lazaro was covered in bruises, bumps, cigarette burns, and had been beaten by a baseball bat, resulting in a fractured skull. He had broken bones, broken teeth, and weighed only 18 pounds at the time of death.
For many Floridians, this case is a throwback to the media sensation that was all over the news. The trials, yes plural, were filled with such tremendous drama that it makes Casey Anthony seem mellow. Everyone from judges to police to medical examiners to members of the media believed that this was the single worst case of child abuse and murder that they had ever seen.
Initial theories involved “stranger danger,” but evidence lead police to Lazaro’s own mother: Ana Maria Cardona.
Cardona was given not one, not two, but three trials in which to defend herself. The first two, she was sentenced to death. Each of those verdicts were overturned landing Cardona in the defensive seat she was in earlier this week.
Now, she’ll be heading off to prison for life. Cardona maintains that she did not kill her son.