Family of woman accused of starving her stepson to death tells jury she was a good mother

Miranda Casarez facing up to life in prison if found guilty

SAN ANTONIO – A family member of Miranda Casarez described her to a jury during her trial on Tuesday as a good mother.

Casarez is facing up to life in prison for allegedly starving her stepson, Benjamin Cervera, 4, to death in 2021.

Casarez’s mother told a jury Benjamin was a happy and healthy boy. She said she never saw her daughter treat him badly.

In cross-examination, the state asked Alice Casarez if her daughter ever withheld food from Benjamin. She said no, but then prosecutor Michael Villarreal showed her text messages showing Miranda Casarez stating that Benjamin couldn’t eat because he had already been given a break.

Alice Casarez responded that she didn’t remember that text message exchange.

Villarreal then asked Alice Casarez if she liked Benjamin, and she responded that she loved him.

Villarreal then asked her why she would send a photo of an adult wearing a diaper to her daughter in a text that said, “That will be Benji when he grows up.”

Alice Casarez said she never sent that and didn’t know how it was sent from her phone.

Miranda Casarez, along with Benjamin’s father, Brandon Cervera, were charged with injury to a child related to Benjamin’s death.

The defense has said that Benjamin didn’t die of starvation but instead from a brain bleed. They have tried to provide evidence to the jury that Benjamin was autistic and would bang his head on the floor. Benjamin was never diagnosed with autism when he was alive.

Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday morning.


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About the Authors

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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