Court appearance for S. Valley mother accused of murder
VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A South Valley mother had her first court appearance after she was arrested for allegedly murdering her newborn baby.
Danielle Downing's family says they are taking their daughter's arrest and granddaughter's murder very hard.
The crime first happened back in October but authorities didn't have enough evidence to arrest her until recently.
During her first court appearance, Danielle Downing told a judge she did not have enough money to hire an attorney.
The 25-year old Farmersville mother is charged with murder and assault on a child causing death after her newborn baby girl was found dead in a trash can last October.
Downing's mother and other family members said they are having a hard time dealing with her arrest and her newborn's death.
"All our hopes and prayers are with her. We're hoping for the best and we're hoping this was accidental and not purposely done. At this point in time we do not know any of the details and it's very painful for me and I'm sorry I can't say anymore," Danielle Downing's mother, Judith Compton, said.
Farmersville police say the newborn girl was first discovered the night of October 17 by Downing's family members.
Danielle admitted to police that she had given birth to the baby earlier in the day. Still, no charges were filed until recently and authorities are releasing few details about the case.
"Based on the information we learned throughout this investigation and it has been about a 6 month - 4,5 month investigation, it became apparent to us that the charge of murder and the charge of child abuse was appropriate in this situation," Assistant District Attorney Shani Jenkins said.
Danielle Downing has two other children. Back in December she was granted visitation rights to her 3-year old son. The boy's great aunt told Action News she's worried about Downing.
"I've known Danielle ever since she was a baby we don't want nothing bad to happen which we all feel bad for this Danielle just needs help and we'll just leave it all in God's hands," family friend Debby Tafoya said.
If Danielle Downing is convicted on both charges she could face 50 years to life in prison.
She will be back in court later this month where an attorney is expected to be appointed to represent her.
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