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Mother held in drowning of one daughter, attempt to drown another

February 15, 2012 |  7:46 pm

Mother Lorna Valley was arrested on suspicion of trying to drown her two daughters, the LAPD said.A South Los Angeles mother was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of trying to drown her two small daughters in a baby bathtub in an incident that left one child dead and the other in critical condition.

Lorna Valle, 32, allegedly shoved her 1-year-old and 5-year-old daughters face-first into a tub in their home Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

She was booked on suspicion of murder and attempted murder and was being held Wednesday night on $1.5-million bail, Officer Karen Rayner said.

Her husband interrupted her as she tried to kill her children,  police said.

Horrified, the father began shouting as he allegedly found his wife trying to drown their two little girls.

The mother shoved the older daughter’s face into a small tub, Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Pat Gannon told The Times.

The couple’s 1-year-old daughter died Wednesday morning, and their 5-year-old daughter was in critical condition at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Earlier reports mistakenly said she was 4 years old.

The mother, who police said may have a history of mental illness, was taken into custody earlier in the day for questioning by LAPD detectives.

"I don't know what made her snap," Gannon said. The mother has been taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Firefighters arrived at the home in the 900 block of West 50th Street about 7:30 a.m. and found the girls unconscious and unresponsive. The rescuers tried to resuscitate the girls and rushed them to a hospital.

Neighbor Dina Ceballos, 46, said she saw the two little girls being carried out by the firefighters. Both were limp and colorless.

Hours later, she said she was still shaken and feeling ill and couldn't get the image of the girls being carried away out of her memory. "It broke my heart to see those girls," Ceballos said.

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--Andrew Blankstein (twitter.com/anblanx) and Robert J. Lopez (twitter.com/LAJourno)

Photo: Lorna Valle with her two daughters. Credit: Family photo via KTLA-TV Channel 5

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