Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
January 10, 2012
Susan Kang Schroeder
MOTHER FACES TRIAL FOR MURDERING DAUGHTER AFTER GIVING BIRTH AND DUMPING BABY IN RESTAURANT DUMPSTER
SANTA ANA – A mother faces trial tomorrow for murdering her infant baby right after giving birth and discarding the baby’s corpse in a dumpster. Juana Perez Valencia, 21, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count of 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 if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In the evening on Dec. 22, 2009, Valencia is accused of giving 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 is accused of murdering the baby by suffocating her to death immediately after giving birth. She is accused of then putting Baby Doe in a plastic bag and throwing her body in a dumpster behind the restaurant.
The following day, Valencia is accused of going to an Anaheim hospital for treatment. She is accused of claiming to have been hurt in a fall and denied having given birth, despite a determination by hospital staff that she had recently 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.