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Sister, 11, credited in baby's rescue

August 19, 2008|Christopher Goffard | Times Staff Writer

Minutes after an infant girl was dumped in a Laguna Niguel trash bin just yards from her family's front door Saturday morning, the newborn's 11-year-old sister went out to investigate, neighbors said, then summoned help in time to save the child.

The sister had grown concerned because she had seen her mother bleeding in the bathroom and saw her take something out to the bin, said Bianca Ontivero, an 11-year-old friend and neighbor who spoke with the permission and in the presence of her parents. She said her friend had confided to her that her mother was pregnant and had told her to keep it a secret.

"I think she got curious" and inspected the bin, Bianca said.

The bin is inside a stucco enclosure covered with neatly trimmed vegetation, within earshot of the community pool at the Hidden Hills apartment complex in this upscale community.

After spotting the abandoned infant, the girl went to the nearby leasing office and found an adult who rescued the child, neighbors said.

Shawn Sepulveda, 38, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the incident. She is being held in the psychiatric wing at the Central Women's Jail on $1-million bail and is expected to be in court today.

Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino said Sepulveda's two other children, 11 and 14, were turned over to their father.

He noted that anyone can drop an unwanted child off at the fire station, a church or a hospital, no questions asked. Sepulveda's record showed no prior run-ins with the law, save for a traffic violation.

He said the infant was being treated at the hospital because of minor medical problems "due to improper delivery," but was expected to fully recover.

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christopher.goffard@latimes.com

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