Crime

Mother Found Guilty And Father Acquitted After Baby Dies In Hot Car

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Giovanni Soto was 4 months old when he was found dead on the morning of July 27, 2013. His parents,  32-year-old Israel Soto and 24-year-old Jessica Quezada, had allegedly “completely abandoned” the infant in their car for 14 hours outside of their apartment in El Cajon, California.

On July 9, Quezada was convicted of felony child abuse and drug charges, and Soto was acquitted of child abuse.

Deputy District Attorney Carlos Campbell said the baby’s body temperature was 107 degrees when he was discovered. At the time, officers found methamphetamine in Quezada’s purse and in her system, Times of San Diego reported.

“He (Giovanni) died because his parents did nothing, and had a duty to do everything,” the prosecutor said in his opening statement. “This is not a tragic accident. This could have been avoided.”

On July 26, 2013, Quezada’s brother and his girlfriend arrived at the apartment and they all went shopping at Walmart together. After returning home, they left the baby in the car and didn’t check on him, despite the fact that Quezada and her brother smoked marijuana six feet away from the vehicle, Campbell alleged in court. 

The baby was left there overnight and Quezada only asked about him about 30 minutes after she woke up the next day. Her brother allegedly found the unresponsive baby in the hot car and Giovanni died, despite attempts to render aid, Fox 5 reported.

Quezada’s attorney, Bart Sheela, claimed that Giovanni’s death was accidental. “They were careless,” Sheela said. “They were good parents.” He argued that Quezada believed someone else brought the baby back into the apartment.

Her sentencing is set for July 20.

Sources: Fox 5, Times of San Diego / Photo credit: Times of San Diego