A woman in California was arrested and charged Friday with the death of her daughter after allegedly leaving her alone in a running car overnight with the heater on and a blanket covering her, according to officials.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced Friday that 34-year-old Lacey Ana Mazzarella of Rancho Palos Verdes has been charged with one count each of murder and child neglect resulting in death.
Mazzarella allegedly left her daughter, 2-year-old June Love Agosto, in a car on Sept. 22 and returned early the next morning to find the child dead, according to Deputy District Attorney David Zygielbaum.
“The engine and heater were both left running, the prosecutor added,” the office said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a prior news release that deputies at the Carson station responded to a location regarding a “baby not breathing call” and found the 2-year-old unresponsive. Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics transported the girl to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
In an initial coroner’s report, the mother admitted to police she left the child alone in the car at about 11 p.m. on Sept. 21 before getting into another vehicle to drink alcohol with a friend. She told authorities she then fell asleep.
When the 34-year-old mother woke up several hours later, she said she checked on her toddler to find vomit on the child’s clothes with burns to the girl’s face, chest and arms.
“Skin was coming off the decedent’s back,” the report also obtained by KTLA said.
In the coroner’s report, the mother said she placed June outside on the lawn and sprayed her with a hose in an attempt to revive her and cool her off. Paramedics took the child to an area hospital, but she was found to be in full cardiac arrest.
“She’s my only grandchild. I just came out here and June celebrated her second birthday. June Love was a beautiful baby, she deserved a good life. She deserved to grow up, go to school,” the child’s grandmother, Helen Hernandez said.
During her arraignment on Friday afternoon, Mazzarella entered a not guilty plea as a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Oct. 23, according to KTLA.
The child’s official cause of death has yet to be determined, pending the result of additional forensic tests.