Mother Who Gave Birth And With Child's Grandma Invented Story Of Finding Infant At Gas Stn. Both Admit Guilt To City Prosecutor Charges...And Both Have Now Been Sentenced


(June 11, 2012) -- Two women who triggered an intense LBPD response after fabricating a story about finding a newborn child at a gas station (in the area of 7th St./Alamitos) have been sentenced after pleading "open" -- effectively the same as a guilty plea -- to all charges filed by LB City Prosecutor Doug Haubert.

One of the women, Paloma Espinoza, was the newborn child's birth mother; the other woman, Sonia Hernandez, was the birth mother's mother (the child's grandmother).

On February 20, 2012, the two women invented a tale about finding a baby at the gas station when, in truth, Ms. Espinoza gave birth to the child a few hours earlier and didn't want to keep the child.

Ms. Espinoza (the birth mother) pleaded guilty to all charges: child endangerment, child abandonment, and driving on a suspended license. Superior Court Judge Jesse Rodriguez sentenced Ms. Espinoza to 6 months live-in drug treatment program (Salvation Army in Pasadena). 52 weeks of parenting classes through Dept of Child and Family Services. 4 years on probation, 225 days in jail (now subject to release after having been in jail since the incident, sentence amounts to her actual time plus credits), 505 additional days in jail is "stayed" so if she violates any term of probation she must serve that time in jail. A protective order restraining ms. Espinoza was also issued to protect the child.

The City Prosecutor's office says Ms. Espinoza will enter a drug rehab program immediately.

On April 18, Sonia Hernandez (Ms. Espinoza's mother) also pleaded "open" before Judge Chet Taylor. Ms. Hernandez's plea effectively admitted guilt to making a false police report and obstructing/delaying police officers in the discharge of their duties (lying to officers about finding the baby at a gas station).

Ms. Hernandez will also be required to pay restitution (in an amount to be determined at a hearing on Tuesday June 12), plus 1 day in jail (booked and released), 45 days community service with 365 days in County jail "stayed" (if she violates her probation she must serve that time) plus three years probation.

Both cases were handled by Deputy City Prosecutor Mike Vela.

Following the sentencing, City Prosecutor Haubert told

"I am glad that both defendants have pleaded guilty and the cases have been resolved. I hope this case reminds people about our Safe Surrender Law. If these two had taken the baby to a hospital or fire station, instead of concocting a lie about finding the baby, no charges would have ever been filed."

Under L.A. County's "Safe Surrender" program -- "no shame, no blame, no names" -- newborns can be safely given up at any Los Angeles County hospital emergency room or fire station." For information on this, click here.

The L.A. County District's office declined to file felony charges in the matter [sometimes a criminal statute is somewhat different for a felony vs. a misdemeanor charge] and referred the case to the LB City Prosecutor's office.

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