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Orange County woman sentenced to prison for dumping newborn in trash

An Orange County mother who dumped her newborn baby girl in a trash receptacle and left her for dead was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for attempted murder and child abuse.

Shawn Kelli Sepulveda, 41, of Laguna Niguel, tried to hide her pregnancy from her husband because he was not the father, said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney’s office.

According to prosecutors, Sepulveda gave birth to a girl on Aug.16, 2008, in her apartment, then left the baby for dead in an outdoor receptacle. When her husband awoke, he found a bloody knife, along with blood in the house and on his wife’s clothes, and, suspecting that his wife had been pregnant, sent his older daughter out to look for the baby.

The daughter found the baby, who was healthy, and alerted apartment staff, who took the baby and called 911, Emami said. The girl is 2 and in fine condition, Emami said.

In the jury trial, Sepulveda admitted that she knew she could have placed the baby up for adoption or surrendered her to a fire station. California law allows a parent or person with lawful custody to surrender a baby to a public or private hospital, designated fire station or other safe surrender site within 72 hours of birth. This can be done confidentially with no questions asked and without fear of prosecution.

“With programs like that in place, it’s mind-blowing that a mother would try to kill her child,” Emami said.

She said the Orange County district attorney’s office is prosecuting at least three other cases where young women allegedly killed their babies shortly after birth.

Yanira Valderrama, 19, is accused of drowning her newborn in a toilet and throwing the body in a trash can in Fullerton in September 2009. In April, Yoselin Tovar, 18, allegedly stabbed her newborn multiple times shortly after giving birth, wrapped the body up and put it in the closet of her Fullerton family home. Both women were trying to hide their pregnancies from their parents, Emami said.

In a third case, Juana Valencia, a Stanton food server, is accused of murdering her newborn after giving birth to her in the restaurant she worked at and throwing the body in a receptacle.

“Unfortunately, we do see cases of mothers murdering or attempting to murder their children far more than anyone would want,” Emami said. “It’s horrifying.”

-- Teresa Watanabe

Comments () | Archives (11)

Thank you Lord for this caring husband and the diligent daughter who followed her dad's instructions and really DID look. God Bless Them, all, including the mother who is obviously a cold-blooded-murderer and needs to be away from this family in a place of punishment.

Let's hope this did not disturb the young daughter too much mentally.
this is just heart-wrenching to read about. and lindsay lohan takes life for granted while an infant struggles just to breathe.

this woman had months to choose life.
to get away and call her husband and explain and at least let someone have this child. if she can do this she can kill anyone so i hope she becomes a better person or stay locked up forever.

Shawn Kelli Sepulveda needs to have her tubes tied so she won't do this again.

And there all hispanics....

I remember a case several years about a USC student on trial for dumping her newborn into a trash dumpster. She claimed the baby was stilborn. She got away free. It wasn't a jury trial, and the judge sentenced her to time served. She was a young white woman from Wisconsin, and had a parade of 'character' witnesses, I think. I'd love to know the ethnicity / race of the women in Orange County.

I remember being appalled at the verdict in the USC student's trial.

Horrifying to murder your kids, yes. But do it only a few months sooner and it is perfectly OK to the liberals. It is called abortion.

What is different about the child before or after birth?

We need to start a PROGRAM for women who cant
handle having another child and want to drop off the
baby at anonymous homes or something?
Anything because maybe they dont want to drop the
baby off at those other programs? Who knows?
Should there be some kind of question flyer at public
health and social services where women and men can
just anonymously answer a questionaire about safe drop
houses or something? Save a baby Program? I dont know
if it would help just a thought?

She should be sentenced to prison. What was this dummy thinking? She should have asked for help or dropped the innocnet baby off at a fire station or hosipital. 12 weeks earlier she could have legally aborted the baby, but I guess it wasn't a baby 12 weeks ago right? egadds

Five years for attempted murder was all she got? She attempted murder. This shows that there is a double legal system, one for women, the other for men. And women are not dealt with as harsh as the men.

This woman was already enabled because she could abandon her child at a Fire Station and not be charged. How is this permitted? Just as men are expected to support their offspring, the women should be expected to safely protect her offspring.

And lastly, because she cheated on her husband which is in itself insulting to him, the husband is now financially responsible because he is the legal husband of his wive's offspring.

This proves that there is too much liberty for women and they are not being held responsible for their actions. Maybe the Arab world is correct in their limiting of women's rights.

Somebody mentioned Hispanic, yes because Mexican American women have bought into the feminization and US laws have loosen the reign that culture use to have on Mexican American females. So we should not be surprised when they get out of hand, the control mechanism has been dismantled by White laws which now endangers other lives.

Julio: This tragedy was the result of women having too much liberty? Have you thought about what the infant death rate would be if women didn't have personal freedom? If, for example, they couldn't leave an abusive husband? Cultures where women are treated as property, and therefore liabilities, have much higher rates of infanticide. It's just the children are left for dead because they are girls, not because they are simply unwanted or the product of an extra-marital affair.


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