SANTA ANA, Calif. (KTLA) — Arraignment was delayed Friday for a 35-year-old mother charged with three counts of felony child abuse after allegedly dumping her child at a local hospital suffering from open wounds and malnutrition.
When the child arrived at the hospital she weighed only 18 pounds, police said.
“The staff noticed that this 4-year-old, who ends up weighing 17 to 18 pounds, was extremely malnourished,” 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.
In addition to the three felony counts, Benitez was charged with a sentencing enhancement for great bodily injury to a child under 5.
If convicted, Benitez would face a maximum sentence of 14 years and six months in prison.
Benitez was being held on $250,000 bail.
Her next court date was scheduled for Sep. 11.