Testimony begins in case of baby's death inside hot car
EL CAJON (CNS) - Testimony got underway Wednesday in a preliminary hearing for the parents of a 4-month-old boy who died after being left in a car overnight at an El Cajon apartment complex.
Israel Soto, 30, and Jessica Quezada, 22, were arrested about 9:45 p.m. July 27, hours after their son, Giovanni Soto, was found unresponsive in a car seat. An El Cajon police officer unsuccessfully tried to revive the child, who was declared dead at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
The preliminary hearing, which resumes Tuesday in the courtroom of Judge William McGrath, will determine whether Soto and Quezada will be ordered to proceed to trial.
At the defendants' arraignment, prosecutor Carlos Campbell said the parents came home to their apartment about 10:30 p.m. on July 26 after going to Walmart.
The couple took their three other children -- 1, 2 and 3 years old -- into the apartment but left the baby boy in the car, Campbell said.
Soto and Quezada let the three children sleep in their bed, but no one realized Giovanni was missing until about 1 p.m. the next day, when the parents woke up, and an uncle subsequently found the baby unresponsive in the car, Campbell said.
"The mother and the father both did nothing over those 15 hours to make sure that they had a 4-month-old in their care," the prosecutor alleged outside court.
The baby's body temperature was 107 degrees when he was found, Campbell said.
In the family's apartment, police found methamphetamine and a pipe in Quezada's purse, according to Campbell, who said the mother admitted smoking pot the night they left the baby.
In addition to child endangerment causing death, Quezada is charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and a misdemeanor count of having a meth pipe. She faces up to 12 years and eight months in prison and Soto faces 12 years behind bars if convicted.
Both defendants -- who are free on $100,000 bail -- were convicted of burglary in 2010, the prosecutor said.
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