Killing Jimena

Did County inaction help murder a five-year-old girl?

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Five weeks later, at some point between the night of Nov. 15 and the next morning, Morentes, Jimena's "second daddy," began beating Jimena to death. After being transported to the hospital on the afternoon of Nov. 16, she was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m. Orozco learned his daughter was dead the following day, when his mother-in-law called from Mexico with the news.

"I didn't believe her," Orozco said. "So I asked her to tell me how to reach Claudia [Correal]. She gave me her telephone number and I called Claudia. She answered and I asked her what happened, if what I had heard was true. She just said, 'Yes, it's true. Jimena is dead,' and then hung up."

Orozco says he never met Morentes until he testified at the murder trial. That's when he recognized him as a young tenant who lived in the same Stanton apartment building where he and his wife stayed before moving to Anaheim.

Seeing Morentes sentenced to life in prison didn't make Orozco any happier. Nor does he feel justice has been served—at least not completely.

"I still feel very sad because my daughter could have been saved," Orozco said. "I went to both the police and Social Services Agency. If they had done their jobs, Jimena could still be alive."

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