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Long Beach woman arrested on charge of abandoning baby

February 24, 2012 |  8:45 pm

A Long Beach woman was arrested Friday on suspicion of abandoning her newborn baby. Authorities allege that she and her mother concocted a false story that the infant was left in a plastic bag at a gas station.

Paloma Espinosa, 28, was charged with child endangerment and child abandonment after giving birth to a girl at home in a bathtub, then allegedly leaving the baby with her mother, Sonia Ines Hernandez, 52, as they plotted how to get rid of the infant.

Hernandez called 911 and first told police she found an abandoned baby at a gas station. Under police questioning, however, she changed her story to say Espinosa found the baby, then changed the account again to say her daughter actually had the baby and left the girl with her, according to Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert.

Hernandez was charged with filing a false police report and obstructing officers in their investigation.

If found guilty of the charges, each woman faces up to two years in jail.

Long Beach Police Sgt. Rico Fernandez earlier told The Times that Espinosa abandoned the baby because she apparently wanted to conceal the birth from her female romantic partner. Although the baby was never left at a gas station, Haubert said Espinosa’s actions amounted to child abandonment because she left the girl with her mother.

The infant, 19 inches long and 7.13 pounds at birth, was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition, Haubert said.

Under California’s “Safe Surrender” law, anyone may surrender an infant to a hospital or fire station within 72 hours of birth with no questions asked, he said.

“You can’t get in trouble for delivering an unwanted baby,” Haubert said. “Using Safe Surrender is in the best interest of the baby and best interest of the mother who does not want the baby.”


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-- Teresa Watanabe