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Arraignment Delayed for O.C. Mother Accused of Starving Young Daughter

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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.

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, 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.

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