FLORENCE, AZ - A Florence man is behind bars after allegedly killing a little girl he was babysitting.
Florence police spokesman Larry Lawrence said on March 14, officers responded to a call of a child in distress.
When officers arrived to the home near Park Street and East Echo Lane, they found 17-month-old Valerie Frias convulsing.
Lawrence said the toddler was airlifted to Phoenix Children's Hospital in serious condition. On March 15, the little girl died from her injuries.
The medical staff alerted authorities that the girl suffered from what appeared to be "non-accidental" injuries.
After interviewing the toddler's family and caregiver, police determined there was probable cause to arrest the girl's babysitter 34-year-old Clifton Jones.
ABC15 spoke with Jones' family members who said that he is innocent and that Frias was sick and experiencing seizures.
Investigators said Jones was running a private daycare out of his home. Authorities said there were three children at his home when the incident happened.
Police said Jones had been taking care of the 17-month-old since December.
Jones was booked into the Pinal County Jail and is facing 1st degree murder charges in the toddler's death.
At this time, the Medical Examiner's Office has not released Frias' official cause of death.
Lawrence said the investigation is ongoing.
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