After the much-publicized beating and death of Kelly Thomas, and the subsequent charging of two officers involved, Fullerton is back in the news. Again, tragedy strikes the defenseless, but this time it was a newborn.
Yanira Bernice Valderrama was only 19 when she gave birth after hiding the pregnancy from her family. She gave birth to a son on her family home's bathroom floor just over two years ago, according to authorities. Valderrama allegedly put the newborn in the toilet when she heard her mother trying to enter an adjoining bedroom, and after her mother left, she wrapped the newborn in a T-shirt and put him in a bedroom trashcan, say prosecutors.
Not surprisingly, Valderrama's secret was exposed when her mother, later that evening, found blood in the bathroom and the discarded placenta. She called the police, who eventually found the child in the trash can and took Valderrama to a hospital, where they confirmed that she had just given birth.
Valderrama was charged with murder, as an autopsy determined that the newborn died of a "blunt force injury to the head and asphyxia while submerged in water," as told by Fullerton police Sergeant Andrew Goodrich last year.
There's many sides to this case: Although Valderrama was charged with murder, her plead of guilty to felony child abuse will lead to a dismissal of the murder charge. It's a sad state of affairs, and perhaps a reflection on our society, where a teen is too scared to talk to her parents or find the help that she needs with an unwanted pregnancy that the situation ends in infanticide.
On Monday, Valderrama entered her plea on Monday and admitted, according to court records, that a sentence-enhancing allegation of inflicting great bodily harm was true. This seems to indicate that, although she was a scared teenager at the time, Valderrama knew that what she was doing would not end well for the infant. Sadly, she will have to live with that for the rest of her life. She was probably unaware of our state Safe Surrender law, which allows parents to drop off an unwanted newborn at any fire station or hospital within 24 hours of birth with no questions asked.
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