Mother pleads no contest in 2-year-old daughter’s death last year in a hot car

Map showing location of girl found unresponsive
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies found a 2-year-old unresponsive in the 22400 block of South Vermont Avenue on Sept. 23, 2019.
(Los Angeles Times)

A mother who allegedly left her 2-year-old in a hot car last year for five hours while drinking with a friend nearby has pleaded no contest for voluntary manslaughter in her daughter’s death, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney.

Lacey Ana Mazzarella, 35, is expected to be sentenced to 14 years and eight months in state prison for charges that also include mayhem and child abuse resulting in death, the district attorney said in a news release Tuesday.

Mazzarella left her daughter, identified by coroner’s officials as June Love Augosto, in a car in the 22400 block of South Vermont Avenue of West Carson, authorities said. The little girl, whose name relatives spelled “Agosto,” died Sept. 23, 2019, at a nearby hospital.


“The [then] 34-year-old mother, who was at the location, was interviewed along with several witnesses,” said
Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez at the time. “It is unknown if drugs and/or alcohol were involved.”

According to a coroner’s report cited by multiple media outlets, the girl’s mother allegedly covered the girl with a blanket and turned on the vehicle’s heat to keep the child from getting cold while she sat in a nearby vehicle drinking with a friend. The mother allegedly fell asleep, and when she awoke about five hours later, found the girl unresponsive, according to the reports. The car’s engine and heater were still running, the prosecutor said.

“Vomit was present on her shirt and the car seat,” the report states, according to KTLA-TV Channel 5. The mother placed the girl “on the grass and sprayed her with the water hose in an attempt to cool her down. The decedent was taken into the house and a call was placed to 911.”

The station reported that paramedics said the girl had what appeared to be burns on her face, chest and arms, and her temperature was 107.5 degrees.