Caution: This story contains graphic details of violence that may be disturbing to some readers.
A police recording that was played in court in Oceanside, California on Jan. 26 revealed disturbing details as to why Veronica Rivas allegedly drowned her 21-month-old son.
“I killed my baby, why? Because the law does not protect unless you have evidence,” Rivas is heard saying. “What am I supposed to do? Watch him (the father) for the rest of my life laying his hands on him (Elijah) and ruin him (Elijah),”
In the audio track, Rivas is heard accusing Elijah’s father of being a pedophile and having sexually assaulted the boy in the past.
The recording was taken in the hospital by Police Officer Anthony Flores who knew Rivas from high school. He had a recording device in his breast pocket and recorded the conversation. Rivas’ attorney claims she did not know she was being recorded.
Rivas’ son was found dead Sept. 10 at her condo. She confessed to drowning her son and prosecutor Claudia Grasso claims she told police what she planned to do earlier in the day.
According to NBC San Diego, she said she killed her son to protect him and was planning on killing herself, too. Prosecutors say she had taken Tylenol and alcohol before the incident.
Detective Marilyn Johnson says Rivas attempted to drown her son twice, but he survived.
“After laying on a bed for a short time, they went back into the bathroom, and this time, she said she got into the water and laid Elijah on her chest,” said Johnson. When asked what happened to Elijah, Johnson said, “He did not survive.”
Johnson also says that Rivas left the child in the tub while she went downstairs to drink more alcohol and take pills.
Police say Rivas had been dealing with depression for some time because of the ongoing custody battle she has had with the son’s father. Rivas’ mother, Maria, also testified, saying her daughter had been stressed after recently receiving custody papers from the father.
Veronica Rivas is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 24, accused of first-degree murder and assault on a child. She faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Rivas has pleaded not guilty to charges.