For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MOTHER CONVICTED OF MURDERING DAUGHTER AFTER GIVING BIRTH AND DUMPING BABY IN RESTAURANT DUMPSTER
SANTA ANA – A mother was convicted today of murdering her infant baby right after giving birth and discarding the baby’s corpse in a dumpster. Juana Perez Valencia, 21, Anaheim, was found guilty by a jury today of one felony count of second degree murder and one felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death. She faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison at her sentencing Nov. 9, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-36, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
This was a re-trial of the case, as a previous jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in January 2012.
On the evening of Dec. 22, 2009, Valencia gave birth to a baby girl in the restroom of Sombrero’s, a Mexican restaurant in Stanton, where she was working as a food server. The full-term baby girl was born alive, weighed 6.3 pounds, and was 17 inches long.
The defendant murdered the baby by suffocating her to death immediately after giving birth. She then put Baby Doe in a plastic bag and threw her body in a dumpster behind the restaurant.
The following day, Valencia went to an Anaheim hospital for treatment. She claimed to have been hurt in a fall and denied having given birth, despite medical evidence that she had given birth to a full-term baby. The hospital contacted the Anaheim Police Department (APD), who began investigating this case.
APD determined that the defendant worked in Stanton, in the jurisdiction of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), and may have discarded the baby’s body near her work. OCSD took over the investigation and discovered Baby Doe’s body in the dumpster the day after the murder.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.