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Madera teen accused of killing newborn found under sink wrapped in bag

A teenage girl in Madera, Calif., pleaded not guilty Thursday to killing her newborn. Investigators discovered the infant wrapped in a plastic bag under a bathroom sink.

Authorities told the Fresno Bee that Gloria Mendoza Santos, 17, had arrived in Madera from Oaxaca, Mexico, just three days before going to a hospital last week. Doctors there discovered she was suffering from postpartum bleeding, but at the time she reportedly denied giving birth.

Investigators searched her home and discovered the infant's body stuffed beneath a bathroom sink.

Mendoza Santos later admitted giving birth but said the child was stillborn, the Bee reported. Sheriff's officials, though, said autopsy results showed the baby was delivered alive.

The cause of death was not immediately released.

Mendoza Santos is being charged as an adult on a single count of first-degree murder, a spokeswoman for the Madera County Deputy district attorney's office told the Associated Press. If convicted, Mendoza Santos -- who is reportedly being held in lieu of $1-million bail -- could spend 25 years to life in state prison.

Public defender Craig Collins told ABC30 in Fresno that his client didn't understand why she would need an attorney and that he would be working through an interpreter who can speak her language.

"There's a story behind this," he said, "and we're going to find it."

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Twitter: @MattStevensLAT

matt.stevens@latimes.com

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