COLDWATER (WWJ/AP) – A 23-year-old woman is scheduled to be sentenced next month in the death of her 5-month-old daughter in southern Michigan.
Mariela Flores-Valle pleaded no contest Monday to involuntary manslaughter in the death of 5-month-old Diane Perez, according to The Daily Reporter of Coldwater. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed two original life felony charges of homicide and first degree child abuse.
Flores-Valle faces up to 15 years in prison when she’s sentenced on Feb. 25. A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt, but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.
Flores-Valle initially told police her daughter fell off a couch the night before she called for medical help when the baby stopped breathing last February. Paramedics were able to revive the baby, but she died at the hospital the next day.
An autopsy determined that the infant died of “enormous traumatic injuries — blunt force injuries to the head.” Prosecutors have said the child had a skull fracture. There were also signs of prior abuse, including a broken arm and broken ribs, according to reports. Investigators say all of the injuries were likely caused by ongoing child abuse, at the hands of Flores-Valle.
After the baby’s death, Child Protective Services removed the child’s twin brother and two other children from family’s the home in Bronson.
Flores-Valle is a Mexican national who has lived in the U.S. most of her life. She was living in America legally as the wife of U.S.-born Fernando Garcia until their divorce in 2009. A judge said she could face deportation at the discretion of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
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