Local

Charges filed in four-year-old's death

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Authorities have charged a mother and her friend in the case of a 4-year-old girl who died after being found unconscious in her home.

Both women are charged with injury to a child, but exactly how four-year-old Betsabeth Sandoval died is still being investigated. What this charge means is that both of them were supposed to protect this girl, but didn't.

The apartment where the little girl died was dark and quiet on Monday. No one answered when we knocked. Her toys were still outside.

Neighbors have been wondering what happened to Betsabeth. On Monday, Houston police filled in a few blanks.

"I can't believe it," neighbor Marquita Mayes said.

Investigators announced the arrest of the girl's mother, Maciel Sandoval, and her longtime roommate, Elida Herrera Garcia. Police were called to the apartment June 3 because Betsabeth was not responsive. She died at the hospital.

Her mother told police she was at work and left the girl in the care of her roommate, whose 14-year-old son also lives with them. They were all questioned the day she died and were released.

Now, 10 days later, the two women are charged, not directly to the death but for what police call Betsabeth's "poor condition."

The next door neighbor says she didn't notice anything out of the ordinary when she saw the girl outside, but no one we spoke to had ever been inside the apartment and behind closed doors.

"As a mom, that's your responsibility to take care of your child. And if you're not taking care of your child, then you're a poor excuse for a mom," Mayes said.

CPS is also investigating but wouldn't tell us if it has a history on the family. When the autopsy is complete, we'll know a lot about how and why Betsabeth died.

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