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Arraignment rescheduled for mom of dumped baby

Juana Perez Valencia
December 29, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A 19-year-old woman accused of killing her newborn daughter and dumping the body in a trash bin behind a Stanton restaurant was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on a murder charge, but was unable to appear in court due to health problems. Her arraignment has been rescheduled for Wednesday morning.Juana Perez Valencia was being held at the Orange County jail after being treated at a local hospital over the weekend. Prosecutors will ask to have her bail set at $1 million.

Investigators believe Valencia gave birth to the baby girl last Tuesday in the bathroom of Sombrero's Mexican restaurant. They say she worked as a waitress at the restaurant, located at 7006 Katella Ave. in Stanton.

The body of the baby, who was born healthy, was found at about 7 p.m. Wednesday in the trash bin behind the restaurant.

Prosecutors allege that sometime after giving birth Valencia murdered the healthy newborn, placed the body in a plastic bag and threw it in the trash. Authorities have not said how the baby is believed to have been killed.

Valencia later showed up at an area hospital Wednesday seeking medical attention. Authorities say she repeatedly denied having just given birth. Some hospital employees grew suspicious and called the police.

"This is one of the saddest stories ever. Three days before Christmas Miss Valencia is accused of murdering her baby. She's accused of putting her baby into plastic wrap and dumping her like she's a piece of garbage," said Susan Kang-Schroeder, a spokesperson for the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Valencia faces up to 25 years to life in state prison if convicted.

Under California's Safe Surrender Baby Law, parents or persons with lawful custody can legally turn over an infant to fire stations and hospitals within 72 hours of the child's birth.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect was asked to contact the Orange County District Attorney's Office at (714) 347-8492.


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