Times coverage: Mother charged with murder in the death of 1-year-old son
Last week, the Homicide Report reported on the death of Jacob Gaona, a 1-year-old Latino, who drowned in a bathtub after his mother left him alone. In talks with investigators, the mother initially said she stepped away from the child for a short time to grab a towel and returned to find Jacob unresponsive.
But evidence at the home and the autopsy were inconsistent with the woman's account, officials said. Police had visited the home in January after Jacob's 3-year old sister came to school with a burn mark on her cheek and initially said her mother had done it.
Times reporter Andrew Blankstein has more on the story on L.A. Now:
Shortly after her 17-month-old son drowned in the bathtub of her Westlake District home April 1, Nancy Jacinto told Los Angeles police investigators that she had only left the bathroom for seconds and returned to find the boy floating face down in the water.
Jacinto, a 19-year-old mother of three, said she had left to get a towel to dry off Jacob James Gaona and his 2-year-old brother.
But evidence at the home and the autopsy were inconsistent with the woman's account, police detectives said.
Then, as investigators with the department's juvenile division were preparing to interview Jacinto, she made a startling admission, said LAPD Capt. Fabian Lizarraga.
She said that while she was bathing the children, she had "needed to catch her breath. She was stressed out," Lizarraga said. "She dozed off a little bit, and when she woke up, she realized what was going on and went to check on the kids.
Rather than seconds, Jacinto was away from the bathroom for at least 12 minutes, police say. Prosecutors have charged her with child endangerment and murder. Jacinto has pleaded not guilty.Keep reading: Mother charged with murder in the death of 1-year-old son