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1-year-old girl dies after mother drowned her, police say

February 15, 2012 | 11:34 am

Neighbors pray for girls
A 1-year-old girl has died after her mother tried to drown her and her 5-year-old sister in a bathtub in their South L.A. home Wednesday morning, police said.

Police said she died at California Hospital Medical center, where she and her sister were taken after their father came home to find their mother trying to drown their daughters in a makeshift tub inside a standup shower.

The other girl remained in critical condition. At one point, rescuers were able to get a pulse on her and she was transferred to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Firefighters had attempted to resuscitate the girls, but they were unconscious and not breathing when they were taken to the hospital, authorities said.

Police said they believe the mom intended to drown her daughters.

A neighbor who witnessed "the little one" being taken out of the home told KTLA-TV that the 1-year-old "wasn't breathing. She was in really bad shape. She was very pale. She looked very purple."

The mother seemed troubled, "like she was disturbed," said neighbor Jennifer Houston, 37.

"She stays in the house," said Judy McCann, who has lived on the street for about 30 years. "She never comes out."

The father also kept to himself but seemed friendlier. "He's quiet. He's the one who seems more adept," McCann said. "He's the one who had all his marbles."

"She wanted to come out and play, but her mother wouldn't let her," Houston said of the 5-year-old. "She didn't want her kids to talk to my kids."

Houston has four children, including two daughters almost the same age as those girls. "That hurts me," she said. "I got to tell my baby. She's going to want to know what happened. I'll tell her, 'Your little friend is in the hospital, she had an accident.' I can't just come out and tell her. I can't traumatize my baby."

Joyce Williams, an elder at a neighborhood church who ministers in the street, led neighbors in a prayer for the family. "Let them know there is help in the midst of their storm," she prayed. "Touch that father right now, God! Touch that mother right now, God! God, touch that family now!"

Another neighbor interviewed by KTLA-TV said the family emigrated from Guatemala 10 years ago.

The mother, who has not been identified, has been taken into custody, police said. She could be booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon -- or murder if the girls die, said Cmdr. Andy Smith of the LAPD.

In an interview with The Times, Deputy Chief Pat Gannon said it seems as if the mother "snapped."


Scene where girl drowned called traumatizing

Father found mom trying to drown two daughters, police say

Mother suspected of trying to drown two daughters, ages 1 and 5

-- Rick Rojas in South L.A. and Richard Winton

Photo: Judy McCann, Pastor Joyce Williams and Temika McCain pray in front of the police tape on West 50th Street. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times.