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