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Tulare County Prosecutors Outraged by Lenient Sentence in Baby’s Hot Car Death



Photo of a judge banging a gavel
Eustajia Dominguez Mojica was processing marijuana while her 3-year-old daughter was left in a car during triple-digit heat in Visalia. (Shutterstock)
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Eustajia Dominguez Mojica, whose 3-year-old daughter died after being left in a car in Visalia during a June heatwave, has received a one-year jail sentence.

Eustajia Dominguez Mojica was sentenced to one year in jail for involuntary manslaughter, child abuse, and misdemeanor drug charges. (Tulare County DA’s Office)

Tulare County Superior Court Judge Michael Sheltzer handed down the sentence, which included credit for time served and a suspended state prison stint of more than eight years.

Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward and the case’s prosecutors objected vehemently to the sentence, noting that the DA’s Office declined to offer a plea bargain to Mojica.

“The Office of the District Attorney made no offers in this case and does not agree with the sentencing resolution,” the DA’s Office said in a news release issued Thursday.

Baby Left in Car While Mom Processed Marijuana

According to court documents,  Mojica, 29, drove to her sister’s Visalia residence and parked on the street in the sun on June 3. While Mojica processed marijuana, her daughter stayed in the car for more than two hours in triple-digit heat.

After someone at the house asked about the baby girl, she was found in the car and brought inside. She later died at the hospital.

During the investigation of the child’s death, the DA’s Office said, officers learned that Mojica was warned numerous times by the child’s father about leaving the children in hot cars. The investigation also uncovered evidence of ongoing child neglect, according to the DA’s Office.

Mojica Pleaded Guilty to All Charges

Mojica pleaded guilty on Aug. 31 to all charges. Among the counts: child abuse with the special allegation of willful harm or injury resulting in death, involuntary manslaughter, and several misdemeanor drug charges.

If Mojica violates her probation, a judge could order her to serve the suspended prison term.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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