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Woman convicted of suffocating her newborn, dumping body

September 28, 2012 |  6:19 pm

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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