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Woman convicted of suffocating her newborn, dumping body

An Orange County woman was convicted Friday of suffocating her infant daughter moments after giving birth in the restroom of the restaurant where she worked and then tossing the body into a dumpster.

A jury found Juana Perez Valencia, 21, guilty of one felony count of second-degree murder and one felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office.

Valencia, who lived in Anaheim, was previously tried in this case, but the initial jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Prosecutors said that on the evening of Dec. 22, 2009, Valencia gave birth to a girl in the restroom of Sobrero's, a Mexican restaurant in Stanton where she worked as a food server. The baby was born alive and at full term, 17 inches long and weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces.

Prosecutors said Valencia -- who was a teenager at the time -- suffocated the baby immediately after giving birth. 

The next day, prosecutors said Valenica went to an Anaheim hospital for treatment. She claimed that she was injured in a fall and denied having given birth, despite medical evidence to the contrary, according to prosecutors.

Hospital staff contacted authorities. Orange County sheriff's investigators found the newborn's body in a plastic bag in a trash bin behind the restaurant.

Valencia is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 9. Prosecutors said she could face a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

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-- Rick Rojas

 
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