Infant Allegedly Killed by Rockville Mother Had Broken Legs, Injuries to Head and Brain

Mother, who is seven months pregnant, was denied bail


Rebecca D. Briones


The infant daughter of a Rockville mother who has been charged with her murder suffered six broken bones in her legs, as well as injuries to her ribs, head and brain, a prosecutor said Friday.

Lissana Briones was two months old when she died in February. She had been taken to a hospital at the time after she was unresponsive. Police this week arrested her mother after an autopsy ruled Lissana’s death as a homicide.

Rebecca D. Briones, 31, has been charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in a death. Briones was denied bail Friday after a District Court judge in Rockville said he considered her a danger to the community.

“The acts, as alleged at this stage, are incredibly egregious,” Judge John Moffett said. “The court does have concerns that others could be harmed.”

Debbie Feinstein, a prosecutor with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, said Briones “repeatedly abused” her daughter. Listing the injuries, Feinstein said Lissana suffered multiple contusions on her scalp, eyelid and temple; several brain effusions; and six bones broken in her legs. The autopsy also lists spinal cord swelling and a fracture of the ribs.

“It is vigorous. It is repetitive. It is forceful,” she said of the abuse that would cause that degree of injury. “Babies don’t break this way unless significant force is acted on them.”

Briones is seven months pregnant. Feinstein said she should also be considered a danger to her unborn child if she is released and unsupervised.

Arguing that bail be set with some conditions, John Lavigne, a public defender representing Briones, noted Lissana’s death occurred 10 months ago and Briones had lived peacefully since then.

“She has been living in the community in her home since that time, knowing she’s been under investigation,” he said.

Lavigne also pointed out how she was arrested after she voluntarily went to police and that she has no prior convictions. She has been employed at two local car dealerships for years, he said.

On Feb. 18, Briones and her husband picked up their daughter from a caregiver, and both told police Lissana was in good health at the time, according to court documents. When they arrived at their North Adams Street home, Rebecca Briones put Lissana to sleep.

Her husband later checked on Lisanna and found her unresponsive. Rebecca Briones called 911 at about 8 p.m.

Lissana was taken to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville and later airlifted to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., where she died Feb. 21.

A Washington, D.C., medical examiner performed an autopsy that day, but the cause and manner of her death were not determined until Sept. 25.

On Monday, Montgomery County police interviewed Rebecca Briones. She allegedly told them she shook Lissana and threw her on the bed, and also told police she had abused her in similar ways three other times.

Police obtained a warrant Tuesday and arrested Briones Wednesday.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Briones on Jan. 12 in District Court. She faces up to 70 years in prison.

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