A jury in Pomona Superior Court on Tuesday found Araceli Banda Garcia guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse in the gruesome death of her newborn son, who was ripped apart by a pit bull puppy just hours after being born into a toilet in his mother’s Pomona home.
The 21-year-old mother of two cried when she heard the verdict. She faces a sentence of 15 years to life.
Considerably overweight, Garcia hid her pregnancy from her family in 1994 and carried her son to full term. According to her testimony to police, she told only the baby’s alleged father, Jose de la Cruz, that she was pregnant. But De La Cruz, the father of another one of Garcia’s children, denied that the child was his.
On Nov. 4, 1994, Garcia went into labor in the bathroom of the home she shared with her parents, her children and her sister. She told police she felt no pain and was surprised when “the baby came out” into the toilet.
The baby did not cry but moaned once and appeared blue, Garcia said. She told police that she thought it was dead. Fearing that her family would see the infant and find out about the birth, Garcia said she panicked and pitched the child into a yard where she knew pit bulls were kept.