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Mom of toddler found dead in attic released on bond

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Amy Ruiz, mother of a slain toddler whose decomposed body was found in a Lawrenceville attic last year, has been freed from jail.

Ruiz's supporters believe it's the first time she's been able to move about freely since her daughter, Prisi Vasquez, 2, was beaten to death nearly three years ago.

Ruiz posted $11,200 bond and was released Wednesday from the Gwinnett County Jail after her attorney reached an agreement with prosecutors.

Her attorney, Stan Sunderland, called the bond "a reasonable amount considering what she's charged with," a sum her family could "post without difficulty," he said.

A grand jury indicted Ruiz last year on charges of child cruelty, second degree, and concealing the death of her daughter. Her husband, Christian Vasquez, faces murder charges for beating the child to death with what family members described as "a pole."

Ruiz will be required to adhere to a special bond condition, but her attorney wouldn't elaborate. Her case file was under review Thursday and unavailable for public viewing. She'll be staying with acquaintances in a location not disclosed in court documents for her protection, Sunderland said.

The bond condition "was not backbreaking," he said. "Certainly, there are people who have a lot greater restrictions on their liberty."

Ruiz's family believe Vasquez flew into a rage and beat the toddler to death in early 2007, hiding the child's body in the attic of their Stillwater Lane apartment. He'd threatened to harm Ruiz if she sought help, then forced her to flee the country with him, her family says.

For the ensuing years, she was held captive in Central Mexico, until she recently escaped to Mexican authorities who brought her to Texas in September, family members have said. Like her daughter, Ruiz was born in Georgia.

"Everybody is concerned basically," Sunderland said. "They feel that (Ruiz) was a victim, just like Prisi. That's something that needs to be dealt with."

Federal authorities teamed with local police and prosecutors to search for the couple after their daughter's body was discovered June 20 last year.

Authorities said the body lay hidden in the attic for about 16 months, while unrelated occupants lived in the apartment beneath.

Sunderland could offer no timeline on Ruiz's arraignment, wherein she could enter a plea. Her husband's exact whereabouts are still unknown, he said.