Judge: Enough evidence to charge woman with niece's murder

HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- A South Valley judge determined there is enough evidence to charge a woman with the murder of her 2-year-old niece.

Investigators believe potty training may have played a role in the little girl's beating death.

Rosa Ramirez, 31, appeared emotional during Monday's hearing, often wiping tears from her face. She's in custody and 8 months pregnant with her fourth child.

A judge held Ramirez to answer to charges of murder and assault on a child causing death during what appeared to be an emotional hearing for the defendant. Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom. Ramirez's attorney tells Action News the toddler's death was not murder.

"This was an accident where the child slipped in the shower and hits her head at the base of the skull where you find the fracture," said defense attorney Ralph Torres.

Torres says Ramirez then slipped on the water as she tried to pick the child up and accidentally fell on top of her, killing her.

Investigators say the physical evidence does not match up with the claim. They say 2-year-old Yeily Guadalupe had bruising on her face and blunt force trauma to her stomach. She also had three massive skull fractures.

"One of the injuries ultimately was of such a force in impact and at the right angle where it actually did make a complete break straight through the skull of the child's brain," said Kings County Deputy District Attorney Regina Bradshaw.

In court, Deputy Matthew Washburn testified about his conversation with the pathologist during Yeily's autopsy.

"He stated to me those injuries were consistent with falling off a two-story building and landing on your head," said Washburn.

"We don't know at this time if the potty training is in fact the cause of the murder; we do believe there is something that has to do with it," said Bradshaw.

Ramirez told investigators she was trying to potty train Yeily at the time and was having difficulties. Ramirez has three kids of her own and was caring for the 2-year-old at the time of the crime.

Yeily's grieving mother spoke to Action News back in April, saying she gave her brother and his wife, Ramirez, guardianship of the girl while she received treatment for terminal brain cancer.

Ramirez will be back in court at the end of this month.

Attorneys say Yeily's mother was not able to attend the hearing as she is in Fresno undergoing cancer treatment.

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