VISTA (CNS) - An Oceanside woman who admitted causing her 4-year-old foster daughter's death by slamming the child into a headboard and other bedroom furniture was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in prison.
Dania Haros, 26, pleaded guilty in December to voluntary manslaughter and child abuse in the Nov. 19, 2006, death of Angelina Espalin.
"My daughter was an innocent little baby that never deserved any of the pain, any of the abuse that Dania gave her," the slain girl's mother, Patricia Espalin, said.
"The way she killed my daughter is unimaginable. The pain that she admitted to doing to my daughter. Only the Lord knows why everything happened, and now my daughter's a little angel in heaven."
Angelina Espalin was in Haros' care for 5 1/2 months before she died, Patricia Espalin said.
S'te Elmore, Angelina's foster mother before Haros, said she told the victim that her new foster parents would love her and take care of her.
"I felt like I lied to her," Elmore told Vista Judge Aaron Katz. "It never should have happened."
Deputy District Attorney Kelly Mok said Haros killed a child she was supposed to protect.
Katz called the crime "shameful" and "inconceivable," telling Haros she deserved every day of her 16-year sentence.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office declared the child's death a homicide, but it took about a year to investigate the crime, Mok said.
In a 2008 preliminary hearing, an investigator testified that Haros admitted knocking Angelina's head into bedroom furniture three times before the child lost consciousness.
Haros and her husband took the youngster to Tri-City Medical Center. She was then transferred to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, where she died.
Oceanside police Sgt. Jeffrey Novak testified that Haros admitted that she started hurting Angelina two months before she died.
Novak said Haros initially said Angelina had fallen down a flight of stairs two days before she lost consciousness.
Patricia Espalin said the whole experience has been a nightmare.
"My daughter was four years old. She was an innocent little baby and she never deserved anything that she got from this lady," Espalin said. "She'll get hers one day. I just hope this doesn't ever happen to an innocent little child ever again."
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