- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

FLOENCE, Ariz. (AP) - A 27-year-old Arizona City man who had fled the state has been sentenced to natural life in prison on his 2012 first-degree murder conviction in a toddler’s death.

The County Attorney’s Office says a judge sentenced Jose Lopez on Friday.

Lopez was arrested in Las Vegas in March. He fled just before he was convicted of first-degree murder and child abuse in the 2007 death of 21-month-old Mia Alvarez.

Lopez had posted bond after his arrest and was required to attend his trial.

Pinal County prosecutors say Lopez fled the courthouse during a recess and wasn’t present when the jury announced its verdict.

Authorities say Lopez had been babysitting for his fiancee in Arizona City in July 2007.

The girl suffered skull fractures and bruises.

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