SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An 8-year-old girl testified Wednesday that her mother kicked her older sister in the stomach shortly before the older girl died.
Crystal Cardenas, 26, is charged with murder and felony child abuse in the death of 9-year-old Elizabeth Holloway on Jan. 17.
The victim's sister, Amari, testified in a preliminary hearing that Cardenas kicked Elizabeth while she was on the bedroom floor. She testified that a person she referred to as her father, Lorenzo Castillo, was telling Cardenas to stop.
Prosecutor Lindsey Krause said there is no family relationship between Amari and Castillo, but that she views him as a father figure.
Elizabeth was declared dead at a hospital about 90 minutes later. An autopsy show she died of blunt-force injuries.
Castillo, the victim's 28-year-old uncle, is charged with child abuse causing a death.
Amari testified that after her mother kicked her sister, Cardenas put her hand over Elizabeth's mouth as she threw up.
"There was lot of times she threw up," Amari testified. "I said (to Elizabeth), you're probably gonna die."
When asked about the kicking by defense attorney Megan Marcotte, Amari said "I saw it with my own eyes."
Amari testified that Cardenas burned Elizabeth with an iron in a separate incident after Elizabeth accidentally burned her younger sister with the same iron.
Amari said her mother told her to lie to social workers about what happened.
A 13-year-old neighbor girl testified that she saw Cardenas slap Elizabeth in the face and hit her with a closed fist in the arm as they walked home from school.
Krause said Elizabeth came to live with her mother about 17 months before she died.
A few days before her death, Cardenas punched the girl in her abdomen, bruising her pancreas and part of her intestines, Krause said, adding that the 9-year-old suffered a slow and painful death.
The family moved into the Milbrae Street apartment just south of Mount Hope Cemetery shortly before the girl's death, police said.
Cardenas' other children -- including a 1 1/2-year-old son -- were taken by Child Protective Services, authorities said.
Cardenas faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Her husband could get up to 10 years.
At the end of the preliminary hearing, Judge Kerry Wells will decide if enough evidence was presented for the defendants to stand trial.
Lottery players will have a shot at a $700 million Powerball jackpot that ranks as the second largest in U.S. history.
A deep marine layer settled over much of San Diego County Wednesday, including far into the inland valleys.
Sixteen people and at least one dog fled from a burning home Wednesday morning in the Oak Park neighborhood just minutes before the house became fully engulfed in flames, authorities said.
The Carlsbad City Council on Tuesday denied the Planning Commission’s approval for a liquor license at K1 Speed, the indoor go-kart racing company, but did approve a restaurant.
The U.S. Department of State on Tuesday warned U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain parts of Mexico due to the activities of criminal organizations in those areas.
A federal judge who has been a frequent target of President Donald Trump's scorn on Tuesday urged a quick trial for a Mexican man who had been shielded from being deported from the U.S. and claims he was wrongly expelled.
Solarte homered and drove in a career-high six runs, Austin Hedges also went deep and the San Diego Padres beat the St. Louis Cardinals 12-4 on Tuesday night.
A 9-year-old boy who was the subject of an Amber Alert in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties after being abducted by his father, who was suspected of first killing the child's mother, was located safe Tuesday.
Four community meetings will be held in San Diego to take public input on selection of a new police chief, the city announced Tuesday.