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Drowned girl's mom sought mental help, was rebuffed, relative says

February 16, 2012 |  7:16 am

Girls

A South Los Angeles mother who allegedly drowned her 1-year-old daughter and tried to drown her 5-year-old had sought psychiatric help but was rebuffed because she was an illegal immigrant, a relative said.

Family cousin Luis Padillas told KTLA-TV that Lorna Valle, 32, went to a hospital but was not treated because she had no papers. The family is originally from Guatemala, the TV station reported.

"We need a lawyer that can represent us because of the negligence of the hospital," he said in Spanish. He did not specify which hospital she went to.

Padillas' account was different from that of a neighbor who spoke with The Times on Wednesday. The neighbor, Dina Ceballos, said she spoke with a relative of the family who said the woman's husband had told her to go to the doctor, but she never sought that help.

Ceballos said she was told that Valle had shown signs of depression recently and asked the relative to care for the children should anything happen to her.

In the moments after the father returned from a trip to the market Wednesday morning to discover the woman attempting to drown the two girls, Ceballos said she heard the father cry out, "If I didn't get out, my girls would still be alive."

"He was screaming and saying, 'Why didn't she kill herself instead of trying to kill my girls?' " Ceballos said.

Firefighters arrived at the home in the 900 block of West 50th Street about 7:30 a.m. The 1-year-old, identified as Lindsay Taque, died shortly after being taken to a hospital. Rescuers were able to regain a pulse on the 5-year-old. Her condition was upgraded to serious Thursday at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Valle was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of murder and attempted murder and was being held on $1.5-million bail.

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Photo: Lindsay Taque, 1, left, was allegedly drowned by her mother on Wednesday; her 5-year-old sister is in critical condition. Credit: KTLA-TV.

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