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Mother of nine faces felony child abuse charges today

By Jay McClung     Jul 19, 2013 in Crime
Santa Ana - A 35-year-old Santa Ana woman is facing three counts of felony child abuse after abandoning her daughter at a hospital this past June.
On June 4, Antonia Benitez took her 4-year-old, 18-pound daughter to a hospital for an infected wound on her leg and malnutrition. According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, once the girl was admitted, Antonia Benitez ran away and left her child unattended at the hospital. After Benitez fled, doctors at the hospital contacted Social Services who then contacted police officials.
The 18-pound child falls significantly below the normal weight of 34 pounds, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The Santa Ana mother, who has nine children in all, ages ranging from 4 to 16, had previously brought her daughter to a hospital in July 2012 for being underweight. That incident, however, was not reported to the police authorities. Antonia Benitez, unfortunately, is not the only California mother to recently be charged with felony child abuse.
This past May, Roseville mother Denise Wilder pleaded No Contest in the 2012 death of her 2-year-old daughter. Wilder entered into the plea on two counts of felony child abuse and one count of child neglect resulting in the death of a child. In April of 2012, authorities found Denise Wilder intoxicated at her parent’s Roseville home when they discovered the deceased child. The Placer County Coroner's report said the child died due to acute alcohol toxicity and acute malnutrition. Sentencing for Denise Wilder is set for October.
Should Antonia Benitez be found guilty of the three counts of felony child abuse, she faces a maximum jail term of 14 years and six months in a state prison. Benitez is currently being held on $250,000 bail and will appear in court today for an arraignment.
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