Abuse by grandmother decades ago killed Texas woman: police

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 02, 2012 7:21 PM
Abuse by grandmother decades ago killed Texas woman: police

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Linda Gatica survived head injuries caused by child abuse when she was a baby, but more than three decades later they finally killed her in what Texas police are now calling a murder.

Yet investigators said on Thursday they aren't hunting for a suspect in the murder of Gatica, who was 36 when she died in May at an Austin care facility for people with mental disabilities.

That's because they believe the killer to be Gatica's long-dead grandmother, Martha Gatica, who abused her when she was 4 months old.

"Investigators learned that Linda was brought to a hospital by her mother in 1976 with head injuries that appeared suspicious," Austin police said in a statement.

Police weren't notified at the time, but Child Protective Services investigated and baby Linda was removed from her family and placed in foster care, the statement said.

After her death decades later, authorities concluded that the injuries suffered when she was a baby ultimately killed Gatica. Further details on the injuries were not available. Police detectives decided to clear the case since the person who abused Gatica -- her grandmother -- is no longer alive.

"It's out of the norm," Austin Police Corporal Anthony Hipolito said of the case.

(Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Cynthia Osterman)