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Garden Grove mother charged in baby son's suffocation

Orange County prosecutors accuse Corrina Atuatasi, 27, of allowing her 2-month-old boy to suffocate face-down in a pile of clothes after she returned home from a Halloween drinking binge.

November 29, 2011|By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times

A Garden Grove mother who allegedly allowed her baby boy to suffocate in a pile of clothes after she went on a Halloween drinking binge will be arraigned Tuesday in Santa Ana.

Corrina Atuatasi, 27, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, child abuse and a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury to a child under the age of 5. If convicted, she faces up to 12 years in prison, Orange County prosecutors said.

Atuatasi allegedly left her 2-month-old son in her apartment while she went outside to smoke a cigarette and to a neighbor's apartment for drinks.

Prosecutors said the mother later returned and retrieved her son, put him in a car seat and carried him to the neighbor's apartment, where she continued drinking for several hours, leaving the baby in a bedroom in the car seat, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office.

After Atuatasi returned home with the baby about 4 a.m., the boy ended up face-down in a pile of clothing, where he suffocated, authorities said.

About two hours later, Atuatasi allegedly woke up and called 911 to report that she could not find her baby. The child was dead by the time emergency responders arrived.

Atuatasi had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23% — nearly three times the legal limit — as of 8 a.m., prosecutors said.

abby.sewell@latimes.com

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