VISTA (CNS) - An Oceanside woman who fatally beat her 4-year-old foster daughter pleaded guilty Wednesday to voluntary manslaughter and other charges and faces 16 years behind bars.
In addition to manslaughter, Dania Haros pleaded guilty to three counts of felony child abuse and one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury in the Nov. 19, 2006, death of Angelina Espalin.
Sentencing is set for April 21 at the Vista Courthouse.
The victim's biological mother broke down and cried as Vista Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein accepted the 26-year-old defendant's guilty pleas.
The judge said he approved the plea bargain -- in which charges of murder and assault on a child were dismissed -- because of the defendant's lack of criminal record and lack of intent to kill.
Deputy District Attorney Kelly Mok said at an earlier hearing that Haros had Angelina as a foster child for less than six months when she beat her to death.
The child had extensive bruising to the face and body and 30 hemorrhages to her scalp, the prosecutor said.
Mok said Haros had extensive ties to Mexico and was in the process of moving to that country when she was arrested.
The county Medical Examiner's Office quickly declared the child's death a homicide, but it took a year to investigate the circumstances of the crime, Mok said.
A police investigator testified during a 2008 preliminary hearing that Haros admitted knocking Angelina's head into bedroom furniture three times in the hours before the child lapsed into unconsciousness.
The defendant and her husband initially took the youngster to Tri-City Medical Center, then the child was transferred to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, where she was declared brain-dead.
Oceanside police Sgt. Jeffrey Novak testified that after her arrest, Haros admitted that she started hurting Angelina two months before she died.
A social worker said Haros and her husband were working toward adopting Angelina and her little sister when the toddler died.
Streets in the area of a National City double homicide remained closed Sunday morning, as the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office was scheduled to perform autopsies on the two men who were killed Saturday while two other victims recover from gunshot wounds at a local hospital, authorities said.
Despite the warm weather, it wasn't hard to get into the holiday spirit in Tierrasanta on Saturday where military families celebrated Christmas.
Extremely hot weather in San Diego County's deserts is expected to persist Friday through early next week and temperatures in other inland areas will spike on Sunday.
A 30-year-old man who was hit by a car in San Marcos while jaywalking Saturday morning died in a hospital, according to San Diego County sheriff's officials.
A town hall meeting meant for veterans to share their experiences with civilians who haven't gone through combat is scheduled for Saturday in El Cajon.
A 12-year-old Oceanside boy who went missing from a Kaiser hospital in Irvine was found safe Saturday morning in Mission Viejo and turned over to a family member, according to Irvine police.
Two Subway sandwich shops in San Diego were robbed at gunpoint Friday, possibly by the same masked thief, authorities reported.
Home surveillance cameras captured two women stealing mail right out people’s mailboxes in a Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood this week.
Short-term lodging service Airbnb on Friday released a report about the $420 million impact it has on San Diego’s economy.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of San Diego's most treasured attractions - SeaWorld's Bayside Skyride. Since 1967, more than 20 million guests have soared above Mission Bay on its iconic gondolas.