O.C. Mother of Nine Accused of Starving 4-Year-Old Daughter

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KTLA)  — A 35-year-old woman was charged Thursday with three counts of felony child abuse after allegedly dumping her child at a local hospital suffering from open wounds and malnutrition.

santa-ana-momAntonia Benitez, of Santa Ana, took her 4-year-old daughter to Saint Joseph’s Children Hospital on June 3 with open wounds and abandoned her, according to Santa Ana Police.

When the child arrived at the hospital she weighed only 18 pounds, police said.

“The staff noticed that this 4-year-old ends up weighing 17 to 18 pounds and was extreme malnourished and emaciated,” Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

Benitez has eight other children who range in age from 4 to 16.

All of her children were placed in protective custody, Bertagna said.

Benitez was expected to appear in court on Friday. Her bail was set at $250,000.

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