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Woman allegedly drove dead niece in car, waited 7 hours to call 911

A woman who allegedly gave a friend a ride in Bakersfield knowing her 2-year-old niece slumped over in the backseat was dead has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and torture-related charges.

Authorities say Wendy Guadalupe Gomez, who is in the country illegally, refused to call 911 when she discovered her niece, Karla Isidro, slumped over dead in the backseat of her sedan on Sept. 20, the Bakersfield Californian reported.

Instead, Gomez, 20, allegedly spent seven hours calling friends and relatives, who reportedly pleaded with her to drive to a hospital or call authorities. During that time she even gave a friend a ride with the dead girl in the backseat of her Toyota Camry, prosecutors allege.

Eventually, police were called to the 3300 block of Chester Lane on a report of a child not breathing, the Californian reported. When an officer removed Karla from the sedan and laid her on the pavement, rigor mortis was evident in her jaw, meaning she'd been dead for some time, the paper reported.

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After Gomez was arrested the next day, she reportedly told police she didn't call 911 because of her immigration status and her fear of deportation.
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She had been caring for Karla and another 4-year-old girl since their mother left for Mexico more than 2 months earlier. Under questioning, Gomez allegedly told officers that she had bound Karla's hands and feet for "misbehaving."
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But an autopsy revealed Karla had suffered a skull fracture and bruises in several places. She also weighed just 16 pounds, her rib cage and hip bones jutting out, the Californian reported.
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Gomez is scheduled to appear in Kern County Superior Court for a hearing on Oct. 3.

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jason.wells@latimes.com

Twitter: @jasonbretwells / Facebook / Google+

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