Funeral Postponed for Girl Killed in Mesquite Stabbing

Funeral Postponed for Girl Killed in Mesquite Stabbing

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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A funeral was postponed Tuesday for a 3-year-old girl slain last week during a butcher knife attack that left her sister paralyzed.

A spokeswoman at Desert Mortuary in Las Vegas said Kristyanna Cowan's father in California called off the service late Monday.

David Cowan said he wanted his daughter buried near his home in Banning, Calif., officials said.

The girl's mother, Tamara Bergeron, has been at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where Kristyanna's 10-year-old sister, Brittney Bergeron, remained in serious condition.

Tamara Bergeron said a knife wound during last Wednesday's 2 a.m. attack severed Brittney's spinal cord, and she is paralyzed from the waist down.

The girls were attacked in a recreational vehicle trailer outside a casino in Mesquite where they had been living with their mother and her boyfriend, Robert Schmidt. The adults were inside the Casa Blanca hotel-casino at the time.

A teenage brother and sister are being held in a jail in Nephi, Utah, about 260 miles northeast of Mesquite. Mesquite is about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Beau Santino Maestas, 19, and his 16-year-old sister, Monique Maestas, are fighting extradition from Utah to Nevada, where prosecutors say they could face death penalty charges, including murder and attempted murder.

Nevada state police Capt. Jerry Hafen said Tuesday that detectives still were collecting evidence in the slaying, but also intend to investigate Beau Maestas' claim that the butcher knife attacks were in retaliation for a drug rip-off.

Maestas told police that Tamara Bergeron and Schmidt sold him $125 worth of a substance that they said was methamphetamine, but turned out to be common table salt.

Nevada authorities have said Bergeron and Schmidt could face felony child endangerment charges, and also could be charged under a state "turkey law" making it a crime to misrepresent and sell a substance as an illegal drug.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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