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Mother sentenced to more than 14 years for toddler’s death in a hot car

Map showing location of girl found unresponsive
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies found the 2-year-old, who had been left for hours under a blanket with the car heater on.
(Los Angeles Times)

A Rancho Palos Verdes woman whose toddler died after being left in a hot car has been sentenced to 14 years and eight months in state prison, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced Wednesday.

In October, Lacey Ana Mazzarella, 35, pleaded no contest to one count of voluntary manslaughter, mayhem and child abuse resulting in death.

The sequence of events began on Sept. 22, 2019, when Mazzarella left her 2-year-old daughter alone in a car with the air conditioning on and began drinking mini-bottles of alcohol with a friend in another car nearby, Deputy Dist. Atty. David Zygielbaum said.

Around midnight, Mazzarella checked on her child and realized the car, a black Nissan Altima parked in front of a babysitter’s house in West Carson, was too cold. She covered the girl in a blanket and turned the heat up nearly full blast, then resumed drinking in the nearby car and passed out, Zygielbaum said.

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Mazzarella returned to the Nissan around 5 a.m. to find the engine and heater still running. Her daughter was nonresponsive and covered in vomit.

She placed the girl on the grass and sprayed her with a water hose to try to cool her down, according to a coroner’s report. Mazzarella reportedly made statements that she put the child in a jacuzzi to revive her, the report said.

Paramedics said the girl had what appeared to be burns on her face, chest and arms, and her temperature was 107.5 degrees, according to the report. She was pronounced dead at a hospital, and heat stroke was listed as the cause of death.

The coroner’s report identified the child as June Love Augusto. Relatives spelled the name “Agosto.”


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