For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MOTHER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR ABUSING 4-YEAR-OLD GIRL, WHO WEIGHED ONLY 18 POUNDS, BY DEPRIVING HER OF FOOD AND MEDICAL CARE
SANTA ANA – A mother will be arraigned tomorrow for abusing her 4-year-old daughter by depriving her of food and medical care, causing the child to be severely under-weight at only 18 pounds. Antonia Benitez, 35, Santa Ana, is charged with three felony counts of child abuse with a sentencing enhancement for great bodily injury to a child under 5. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 14 years and six months in state prison. Benitez is being held on $250,000 bail and is expected to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, July 19, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
The defendant is a mother to nine children ranging in age from 4 to 16 years old.
Prior to June 2013, Benitez is accused of abusing her 4-year-old daughter, Jane Doe, by depriving her of food, care, and medical attention.
In July 2012, the defendant is accused of taking Jane Doe to the hospital for being under-weight. The case was not reported to law enforcement at that time.
On June 4, 2013, Benitez is accused of taking Jane Doe to the hospital for an infected wound to the victim’s leg. She is accused of failing to care for her daughter and abusing her by failing to adequately feed the victim, who weighed only 18 pounds.
The Social Services Agency and Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) began investigating this case, and the Orange County District Attorney filed charges against Benitez July 9, 2013. She was arrested today, July 18, 2013, by SAPD.
The defendant’s eight other children have been placed in protective custody. The investigation is ongoing.
Deputy District Attorney Caroline Smith of the Family Protection Unit is prosecuting this case.