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.
A small brush fire erupted alongside state Route 94 in Golden Hill Monday, burning brush near a church and preschool but causing no reported structural damage or injuries before crews got it under control.
Santa Ana winds will blow through much of San Diego County Monday and combine with record-high temperatures and extremely dry air to create dangerous fire conditions, forecasters said.
State Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. Vito Imbasciani met with members of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians on Monday.
A two-year contract ratified by members of San Diego's police union would move officers' pay to above-average levels statewide in all classifications, city leaders announced Monday.
Authorities are working Monday to identify the human remains recovered where a plane crash sparked a fire over the weekend in Lakeside, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office.
One in six women in San Diego County will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime and while more women and men are living longer after a breast cancer diagnosis, there is still no cure. You can participate in the fight against the disease November 5 during the 21st annual Race for the Cure.
Authorities Monday released the name of a man who was fatally shot by police last month when he faced off against them at a North County strip mall while armed with a knife and a pellet gun.
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North County foodies: get ready to feast. The fourth annual North Eats Festival is returning to Encinitas this Sunday.
Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air is once again a proud sponsor the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure which will take place in Balboa Park on Sunday, November 5, 2017. And once again, 'Find A Cure Fridays' are a part of Anderson’s fundraising effort.