Farmersville woman accused of killing her baby appears in court
VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Farmersville woman is accused of killing her baby and then tossing the body in a trash can. She appeared in court on Monday to determine if there's enough evidence for her to stand trial on murder charges.
A judge held Danielle Downing to answer to one count of murder and one count of child abuse causing death after her baby girl was found dead in a trash can back in October 2011.
Pathologist Gary A. Walter conducted an autopsy on the infant and determined the baby had bruises to her head, evidence of a brain hemorrhage and that the baby's umbilical cord was tied tightly around the neck three times. He said there was also evidence the umbilical cord had been manually pulled. Before the injuries, he said the baby was born healthy.
"Appeared to be a well-developed, well-nourished, near-term if not term infant baby girl," said Walter.
Michael Marquez, who was a Farmersville police lieutenant at the time of the case, testified that Downing told him her ex-boyfriend told her to abort the baby and that she also didn't want the baby. He described what she says she did with the baby, after it was born in the toilet at her home.
"Put the blue towel on top of the sheet on the floor, and she exited her bedroom to the kitchen area to retrieve plastic bags," said Marquez, who is now Woodlake's police chief. "She returned back to her bedroom and put one plastic bag over the infant's head because she could hear the child still gurgling and gasping."
Marquez says Downing then told him she wrapped the baby up in towels and a sheet and placed it in the trash can outside her house. Downing's attorney argued her actions were the result of her postpartum depression and from being sexually abused as a child.
"I did the Burns Depression Checklist in which she screened positive. I did a screen for PTSD which she screened positive," said attorney Diane Barnes.
Danielle Downing will be arraigned on the murder charge next month. If convicted, she faces 25 years to life in prison.
homicide, murder, crimetracker, farmersville, tulare county, local, jessica peres
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