Charges filed against women in alleged baby hoax

Feb 25, 2012, 6:02 AM

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) – Misdemeanor charges were filed Friday against two women who allegedly made up a story about finding a newborn baby at a gas station, Long Beach city prosecutors said.

Police later learned one of the women was the infant’s mother.

Paloma Espinoza, 28, was charged with one misdemeanor count each of child endangerment and child abandonment for abandoning the child and fabricating a story that she found the baby in a plastic bag outside a gas station, prosecutors said in a statement. She was taken into custody Friday and was being held on $50,000 bail, police said. Her arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.

Her mother, Sonia Ines Hernandez, 52, was charged with filing a false police report and obstructing a police investigation. Hernandez, who was not taken into custody, also is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

Espinoza gave birth to the baby girl on Monday at home and brought the child to her mother, who told police she found the newborn that night at a USA Gas station in Long Beach, police Sgt. Rico Fernandez told City News Service.

Fernandez said Espinoza initially told her mother she found the baby, but her mother later learned Espinoza had given birth to the child. Police believe Hernandez knowingly told police that she herself had found the child at the gas station.

The younger woman apparently “wanted to protect a relationship she was in,” Fernandez told CNS. He declined to elaborate.

Espinoza was found driving around the area of the gas station late Monday and, when questioned, told police she didn’t realize she was pregnant until she gave birth that day, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.

She said personal issues made it impossible for her to care for the child, so she gave the baby to her mother, police said.

The infant is recovering and in stable condition at a local hospital, prosecutors said.

“What these women did is outrageous,” Long Beach city prosecutor Doug Haubert said in the statement. “The fact that they lied to police about the identity of the baby and the facts surrounding its birth is shocking enough, but even worse is the fact that these lies jeopardized the health of a newborn child.”

No charges would have been filed if the mother had taken advantage of California’s “Safe Surrender” law, which provides immunity to a parent who surrenders an infant at a hospital or fire station within 72 hours of birth, with no questions asked.

Each woman faces up to two years in county jail if convicted. Assistant City Prosecutor Randall Fudge did not know if they had attorneys.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

A person walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securiti...
Associated Press

Hong Kong shares soar 6%, leading Asian market gains

TOKYO (AP) — Hong Kong’s share benchmark soared more than 6% on Wednesday as Asian shares tracked gains on Wall Street. New Zealand’s share benchmark rose 0.8% after its central bank hiked its benchmark interest rate to 3.5%, saying inflation remained too high and labor scarce. The half-point rate hike was the fifth in a […]
1 day ago
FILE - A road is completely filled with a tall pile of debris from destroyed beachfront homes and b...
Associated Press

Ian deals blow to Florida’s teetering insurance sector

Daniel Kelly and his wife bought a 1977 doublewide mobile home in May for about $83,000 at Tropicana Sands, a community for people 55 and older in Fort Myers, Florida. But he ran into roadblocks when he tried to insure it. Managers at Tropicana Sands told him he likely wouldn’t be able to find a […]
1 day ago
FILE - This undated photo provided by The Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows John Henry Ram...
Associated Press

Texas inmate who fought prayer, touch rules to be executed

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas death row inmate whose case clarified the role of spiritual advisers in death chambers nationwide is scheduled for execution Wednesday, despite efforts by a district attorney to stop his lethal injection. John Henry Ramirez, 38, was sentenced to death for killing 46-year-old Pablo Castro, a convenience store clerk, in 2004. […]
1 day ago
A customer looks at refrigerated items at a Grocery Outlet store in Pleasanton, Calif.,. on Thursda...
Associated Press

‘Best Before’ labels scrutinized as food waste concerns grow

As awareness grows around the world about the problem of food waste, one culprit in particular is drawing scrutiny: “best before” labels. Manufacturers have used the labels for decades to estimate peak freshness. Unlike “use by” labels, which are found on perishable foods like meat and dairy, “best before” labels have nothing to do with […]
1 day ago
FILE - President Joe Biden attends an event to support legislation that would encourage domestic ma...
Associated Press

Can Biden save democracy one US factory job at a time?

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is working to create a manufacturing revival — even helping to put factory jobs in Republican territory under the belief it can restore faith in U.S. democracy. The latest development came Tuesday, when chipmaker Micron announced an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to […]
1 day ago
FILE - People stand on the destroyed bridge to Pine Island as they view the damage in the aftermath...
Associated Press

Biden to focus on hurricane victims in Florida, not politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will visit hurricane-ravaged Florida with a pledge that federal, state and local governments will work as one to help rebuild homes, businesses and lives — putting politics on mute for now to focus on those in need. Hurricane Ian has resulted in at least 84 people confirmed dead, including […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Charges filed against women in alleged baby hoax