The Latest: Parents investigated twice before son died

AP News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2017 11:44 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on the fatal shooting of a 9-year-old Phoenix boy (all times local):

6:57 p.m.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety says it twice investigated the parents of a 9-year-old boy who was fatally shot in his home.

The agency says it investigated the family after two children were born exposed to a "substance."

The second case was closed in June 2016 after the family successfully completed services.

The parents of Landen Lavarnia, Wendy and Kansas Lavarnia, are facing first-degree murder charges in the boy's death.

Police say there's evidence the parents cleaned up the home and waited an undisclosed amount of time before calling police after the shooting.

It's unclear who fired the shot.

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5:57 p.m.

The school district where a 9-year-old boy who was fatally shot in his home attended the second grade says he was a kind, smart and creative boy who was friends with all.

Washington Elementary School District said in a letter to parents on Wednesday that Landen Lavarnia was enrolled at Sahuaro Elementary School. They said he was "a very sweet" and kind boy who was also very smart, creative and helpful to his classmates.

Landen Lavarnia's parents have been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. His mother, Wendy Lavarnia, told police that her 2-year-old son accidentally shot his brother on Monday.

Police said Wednesday that there's evidence that blood in the home was cleaned up before they were called.

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4:15 p.m.

Police say they have found inconsistencies in a Phoenix woman's account of how her son was fatally shot in her home.

Wendy Lavarnia told police that her 2-year-old son got hold of a 9 mm handgun that was sitting on a bed Monday and shot his 9-year-old brother.

Police said Wednesday that there's evidence that blood in the home was cleaned up before they were called.

Police spokesman Vince Lewis says Lavarnia and the boy's father, Kansas Lavarnia, are accused of murder in delaying medical care for the critically injured boy.

Lewis declined to say whether investigators believe the mother's statement was accurate. He also wouldn't say who's believed to have shot the boy or detail the inconsistencies in the mother's account.

It's unclear whether the couple has lawyers.

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11:45 a.m.

A Phoenix couple whose 9-year-old son was shot and killed are now accused of first-degree murder, with police saying there's evidence that blood in the home was cleaned up before they were called.

Wendy Lavarnia has told investigators that her 2-year-old son picked up her loaded gun and shot the older boy, which is repeated in an updated probable cause statement released Wednesday.

The statement also says the boy's father had a crudely bandaged gunshot wound on his upper arm when he came home after police arrived. It says authorities found evidence in the home of cleaned-up blood residue.

Court documents say the father, Kansas Lavarnia, is accused of first-degree murder, child abuse and hindering prosecution, while Wendy Lavarnia is accused of first-degree murder.

She previously was suspected of child abuse, while Kansas Lavarnia had been booked on weapons misconduct.

Judges ordered both held in lieu of $1 million bond each. They haven't yet been charged.

This post has been updated with the correct spelling of Lavarnia throughout.