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/ DEVELOPMENTS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Woman Charged in Death of Abandoned Baby

March 30, 2000

CULVER CITY — A young Mar Vista woman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of killing a newborn son, whose body was found in a waste dump.

Alejandra Maria Gomez, 18, was arrested Monday after investigators determined that the body of a newborn found Feb. 2 in a Carson dump was her child. The body had been picked up in a trash bin in Mar Vista and trucked to Carson, detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department determined.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Kathryn A. Solorzano said the newborn died because the umbilical cord was not tied after birth, so he bled to death.

"Baby John Doe 13," as he was referred to in the criminal complaint, was buried Saturday at Desert Lawn Cemetery in Calimesa, after a funeral service organized by Garden of Angels, a nonprofit organization.

"We named him Joel after the man who found him," said group founder Debi Faris. "It means God's messenger." It was a beautiful service; we read a letter, sang Amazing Grace and released a dove for baby Joel."

Gomez was arraigned in Culver City Superior Court on charges of murder and assault on a child. If convicted of either count, Gomez faces a maximum state prison of 25 years to life, the district attorney's office said. She is being held on $1-million bail, and a preliminary hearing has been set for April 11.

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