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Farm Worker Held in Death of Baby Found in Toilet

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A 21-year-old farm worker was being held Saturday on suspicion of murder in connection with the death of a newborn baby whose body was found in a chemical toilet, authorities said.

Deputies arrested Francisca Jimenez in the La Colonia area of Oxnard on Friday at about 4:30 p.m., Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kelly Fadler said.

The body of Baby Boy Sanchez was discovered July 30 in the holding tank of a portable latrine used by laborers in a Saticoy onion field.

Jimenez, who police suspect was the infant’s mother, was being held Saturday at Branch Jail Honor Farm in Ojai on $250,000 bail, a jail spokesman said.

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The mother was initially identified as Francisca Sanchez on the baby’s death certificate. Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Gullen said Saturday that investigators think one of the surnames could be an alias or the suspect’s married name.

Sheriff’s investigators had staked out the La Colonia residence where Jimenez was arrested because they had a tip that the mother might return to the area from Mexico, Fadler said.

Police said Jimenez went to Mexico on July 29, the day before the infant’s body was found by a worker cleaning the chemical toilets.

Investigators believe that the mother of the baby gave birth inside the latrine and dropped the baby into the chemicals and fecal matter in the toilet.

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The county coroner’s office later determined that the baby was alive at birth but died after inhaling human waste. Based on the autopsy, sheriff’s investigators treated the case as a homicide.

The baby came to be known as Baby Boy Sanchez, and his death attracted wide attention. A Los Angeles minister came to Ventura County to conduct a funeral service for the child on Aug. 13.

The baby was buried in an unmarked grave at Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura. Later, three Ventura County residents who had read about the burial bought a headstone for the grave. Other people placed flowers and toys at the grave site.

Investigators believe the mother of Baby Boy Sanchez is the same woman who tried to abandon a newborn child in Oxnard in May, 1990. In that incident, the baby survived.

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