Juana Perez Valencia, the Mexico City native who was forced to testify in court in Spanish, was found guilty by a jury today of murdering her baby shortly after her birth and tossing her body in a dumpster. Valencia, 21, of Anaheim, could get 25 years to life in state prison at her Nov. 9 sentencing in Santa Ana.
Valencia was 19 in December 2009 when she gave birth to a girl in the restroom of the Sombrero's restaurant on Katella Avenue in Stanton, where she worked as a food server, wrapped the newborn in a plastic bag and dumped the 6.3-pound and 17-inch-long bundle of joy in the dumpster out back, killing the child.
The next day, Valencia checked into Anaheim Medical Center, where she denied having just given birth when asked by doctors, who suspected otherwise and contacted the Anaheim Police Department.
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Concluding Valencia may have dumped the body at her work, which is in the Orange County Sheriff's Department jurisdiction, sheriff's investigators took over the probe, discovered inconsistencies in her statements and tracked her previous movements to Sombrero's, where the baby's body was was found.
The was the second time Orange County prosecutors took at crack at Valencia, as a previous jury failed to reach a verdict in January.
Today, the second jury found her guilty of one felony count of second degree murder and one felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death.