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Upland mom charged in infant’s death after police find other child thrown from a balcony

Upland mom charged in infant’s death after police find other child thrown from a balcony
Tierra Ortega, 25, has been charged after her baby daughter died of undetermined injuries. The woman is also accused of throwing her older son off a balcony before jumping herself. (Upland Police Department)

A woman who police say threw her 1½-year-old son off the balcony of a two-story apartment building in Upland has been charged with attempted murder, the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office said Thursday.

Tierra Ortega, 25, was also charged with one count of assault on a child causing death after her infant daughter, who police estimate was 6 or 7 months old, was found in the apartment and later died from undisclosed injuries, authorities said. The boy was injured but should recover. Earlier reports said the woman, who previously was noted as 24, had been charged with homicide in the girl’s death.

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Police responded Tuesday morning to the 600 block of Wedgewood Avenue in Upland after residents reported hearing a crying baby and reported seeing a woman throw a child off a second-story landing, Upland Police Capt. Marcelo Blanco said.

When officers arrived, they found a toddler-age boy, later identified as Jerricho Ortega, lying on the concrete. While they were investigating the scene, the child’s mother jumped off the landing headfirst, police said.

Officers later found a baby girl, identified as Ezlynn Xariah Ortega, unresponsive in the woman’s apartment, authorities said. Both children and their mother were taken to a local hospital. The children were later airlifted to the Loma Linda Medical Center and were reported to be “somewhat responsive,” according to police.

Ezlynn Xariah Ortega
Ezlynn Xariah Ortega (Upland Police Department)

However, Ezlynn died that afternoon. Her cause of her death remains under investigation, Blanco said.

Jerricho survived the fall from the balcony and was in stable condition Thursday.

“He has a broken foot and lacerations to his face and head area, but it appears he’s going to make a full recovery,” Blanco said.

Police said the children’s father was shocked to hear the news.

“The dad was just as shocked as we were. He didn’t expect what occurred,” Blanco said.

Since Tuesday, the man — who has not been identified — has skipped work to be with Jerricho in the hospital, and he’s worried about being able to pay for Ezlynn’s funeral expenses, Blanco said. After speaking with detectives, the Upland Police Department decided to host a fundraiser to help pay for the children’s medical and burial expenses.

“We’re hoping to get the community involved and put together something to help them out,” said Blanco, adding that any extra money would go toward a college fund for Jerricho.

The department is taking donations through PayPal.

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