Madera County teen will be charged as adult in death of newborn


Investigators say she claimed her baby girl was stillborn. But the autopsy tells a different story.

The teen is being charged as an adult, and is being held on a $1,000,000 bail. She cried in court-and appeared confused.

The neighbors who live in the Madera County neighborhood are confused, they don't know where Gloria Santos Mendoza came from, or why. They only know what detectives told them. That a baby girl was found wrapped in a plastic bag and stuffed in a cabinet below a bathroom sink.

Sheriff's investigators say the teen moved to the area from Oaxaca Mexico days before giving birth, and showed up at a hospital with postpartum bleeding, initially denying ever giving birth.

Public Defender Craig Collins said, "The language and her mental processing is the first thing I need to take a look at."

In court, the teen didn't understand why she would need an attorney. Collins told ABC30 he'll be working through an interpreter who can speak her dialect.

"She confused, looks extremely young," said Collins. "There's a story behind this and we're going to find it"

Prosecutors wouldn't reveal details of the autopsy, but called the case unfortunate.

District Attorney Michael Keitz added, "The death of an infant is always a horrible thing, your heart always cries out for a poor infant that is killed."

Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

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