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Hanford mom pleads not guilty to murder charge for death of two-month-old girl

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Veronica Brouwer is in jail on a no bail hold. Friends say her baby girl was a special gift that she treasured, but detectives say severe internal injuries tell a different story. (KFSN)

A Hanford mom has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder in the death of her two-month-old baby girl.

Detectives say an autopsy earlier this week determined the infant had major head trauma that caused the fatal injuries.

Veronica Brouwer is in jail on a no-bail hold. Friends say her baby girl was a special gift that she treasured, but detectives say severe internal injuries tell a different story.

By all accounts, Brouwer had a picture-perfect family and dedicated her life to caring for her husband and four children. She was a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled her boys and was recently blessed with a baby girl who family members described as her 'miracle baby.'

Detectives say, based on interviews, Veronica had no signs of depression or being too overwhelmed by her newest responsibility.

Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson says afternoon deputies responded to the call, and they felt some of her actions and statements were unusual - even considering the stressful circumstances. But the medical findings were solid and conclusive.

"When you combine the spontaneous statements the mother made and the trauma through the investigation, it was determined that she was the only one who had care and custody of the child during the time this would have occurred," he said.

Kings County Sheriff's detectives aren't sure exactly what happened last Thursday before the call was made to 911. The infant had no external signs of trauma. Veronica told detectives everything was fine when she put the baby down in her crib, but when she returned later to check on her, she was unresponsive.

The baby died a day later, and autopsy-investigators sat down with Veronica and her husband a second time to offer her a chance to clear the record.

"She was reinterviewed and she was confronted with that new information and she stuck to her original story that she had done nothing wrong - that she had, that the baby had been a little bit fussy earlier in the day," Robinson said. "She fed the baby, put the baby down and then the baby was unresponsive."

Detectives say, initially, Veronica thought the child may have accidentally suffocated. But when the baby got to Valley Children's Hospital, doctors said she had a cold that may have evolved into a deadly virus. But it was the autopsy that changed the entire investigation.

"The pathologist tells us this is undeniably blunt force trauma that's caused by someone," Robinson said. "That's not something that's caused by anything that's a cold or a virus."

Investigators say the baby had no prior medical problems and was carried to full term. Veronica's husband is cooperating with the investigation. But family friends say that he and his entire family are devastated and overcome by both grief and heartbreak.

Detectives still plan to interview additional family members and witnesses. Right now the three boys remain in the custody of their father.

Related Topics:
kings countyhomicide investigationchild deathHanford
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