SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A woman who tried to drown her 9-month-old daughter in the tub at her City Heights apartment pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of felony child abuse causing great bodily injury.
Whitney Holman, 23, faces at least eight years in prison when she is sentenced July 28, said Deputy District Attorney Michelle Ialeggio.
It was Holman who called 911 on May 10, 2013, at 3:36 p.m.
"I just drowned my baby in the bathtub," she told a 911 operator in a tape-recorded call played during her preliminary hearing last December.
"You did this on purpose?" the operator asked.
"Yes, " the defendant answered.
"Is she still breathing?" the 911 operator asked the defendant.
"I don't think so," Holman said. "I don't want her to suffer like I've suffered."
On the 911 call, Holman told the operator that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression.
When the operator asked Holman if she could take the baby out of the tub, Holman responded, "I don't want to. I want to make sure that she's dead."
When told help was on the way, Holman told the operator, "I don't need help. I need to be locked away."
San Diego police Detective Karen Almos testified that the first arriving officer found the baby -- named Journey -- submerged in about six inches of water and cold to the touch.
Authorities said the child had been underwater for about five minutes.
Dr. Cynthia Kuelbs, a pediatrician at Rady Children's Hospital, said Journey was admitted in critical condition because of fluid on the lungs and possible neurological injuries due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.
The baby recovered, but it is too soon to know if there will be any long-lasting neurological effects, Kuelbs testified.
Almos said Holman's family members called 911 about 10 days before the near-drowning after Holman posted "murder suicide" on her Facebook page. Police conducted a welfare check, but no services or mental health intervention were provided, according to court testimony.
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