Tucson mother on trial for child abuse

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Trial is getting underway for a Tucson mother accused of abusing her child.

Authorities say Blanca Montano's baby daughter was hospitalized with life-threatening infections.

They believe it may be a case of Munchausen by Proxy where Montano harmed her child in order to get sympathy and attention from others.

Attorneys made their opening statements Wednesday.

The prosecutor, Ryan Schmidt, told jurors Montano hurt her child because she wanted to get the attention of the child's father.

The defense attorney, Paul Skitzki, said the child's father probably will testify that Montano was a very good mother.

The prosecutor said, in early 2011, while her then-five-month-old daughter was at University of Arizona Medical Center (UAMC), Montano deliberately infected the child.

He said, as the baby suffered infection after infection, she was put through numerous tests and treatments.

She was in the intensive care unit.

The infections confounded the doctors who decided to put a camera in the baby's hospital room to try to see what was going on.

Skitzki, opened by saying Montano was a good, attentive mother who did not harm her child.

He said an expert will testify about how illnesses can be spread in hospitals.

"Pay attention because you've got to ask yourself--and we're going to ask you at the end of this case--why? Why would Blanca--why would Blanca want to make her child sick," Skitzki told the jurors.

"Sometimes things happen. Sometimes there's no explanation for it. And certainly in this case, there is no explanation that would say that Blanca Montano was guilty of doing anything other than loving her daughter the best that she could," Skitzki said.

Prosecutor Schmidt brought up Munchausen by Proxy, telling the jurors, "What you won't hear is that Miss Montano was ever diagnosed having Munchausen by Proxy. And most importantly, what you won't hear is that it's any kind of defense for intentionally infecting your child with life-threatening diseases."

Referring to the camera installed in the baby's UAMC room, Schmidt said, "There are a couple of times where Miss Montano clearly sees that there's a camera in her room and intentionally went over and covered up the lens of that camera. You're going to see one time where she--or at least appears--that she is putting her daughter's IV tubes in her mouth."

The trial is expected to last about eight days.

Montano is free on $50,000 bond

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