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Husband of woman accused of killing baby defends her

Noe Medina Sr. says Sonia Hermosillo suffers from postpartum depression and asks the public not to judge her. She was charged Thursday with murder and felony assault.

August 25, 2011|By Nicole Santa Cruz and Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times
  • Noe Medina Sr., left, speaks at a news conference after his wife, Sonia Hermosillo, was charged with pushing their infant son to his death from the fourth floor of a parking garage.
Noe Medina Sr., left, speaks at a news conference after his wife, Sonia Hermosillo,… (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)

In less than 48 hours, a father's world had turned upside down.

Noe Medina's 7-month-old son was dead by 9:25 a.m. Wednesday. Shortly after, his wife of 13 years was charged with murder and felony assault on a child.

On the grounds of UC Irvine Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon, Medina, of La Habra, tearfully defended the mother of his three children, who is accused of pushing their infant son off a four-story parking garage at Children's Hospital of Orange County on Monday night.

"My wife was not in her five senses," he said in Spanish through an interpreter. "She didn't know what she was doing."

Medina said his wife, Sonia Hermosillo, was suffering from postpartum depression and asked the public to refrain from judgment. He urged other women who might be suffering to seek help, calling it a "very serious problem."

Shortly before her husband's news conference, Hermosillo briefly appeared in a Santa Ana jailhouse courtroom. She did not enter a plea. Orange County Superior Court Judge Joe Perez appointed a public defender for her.

Hermosillo, 31, who is believed to be in the country illegally, is being held in lieu of $1-million bail. She is also subject to an immigration hold.

She nodded when spoken to throughout the proceedings and was assisted by a Spanish-speaking interpreter. She is now scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Hermosillo is housed in a solitary cell in the psychiatric ward of the jail, and is wearing a protective gown to prevent her from harming herself, said Jim Amormino, a spokesman with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Medina did not address any medical issues involving his son during his comments Wednesday, but neighbors have said that the child had a birth defect. In a statement, prosecutors said the boy was a patient at Children's Hospital of Orange County and was required to wear a helmet for a medical condition.

Hermosillo is accused of removing the child's helmet and pushing the baby from the fourth floor of a parking structure about 6:20 p.m. Monday. According to prosecutors, she then validated her parking ticket and drove out of the garage.

At least two people saw the baby fall and called police, who reviewed surveillance tape and zeroed in on a 2000 Chevrolet Blazer. In La Habra, Medina had already contacted police to report that his wife and son were missing.

Hermosillo was pulled over by Orange police shortly after 10 p.m., arrested and booked at the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana.

At the news conference Wednesday, Medina said he had to stay strong for his two other children. He said he lost his son and didn't want to lose his wife too.

Scott Simmons, the senior deputy district attorney prosecuting the case, said the parking validation, removing the child's helmet and the fact that Hermosillo fled all suggest "she did know what she was doing."

"It's going to ultimately be up to the jury to decide whether she was capable or not of forming the intent," he said.

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

abigail.sewell@latimes.com

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