A 24-year-old woman pleaded no contest on Friday to charges that she stole a luxury sedan while a baby boy sat inside in Van Nuys, prosecutors said.
Maria Elizabeth De La Torre was accused of felony child abuse after she took an idling Infiniti G20 while the mother who was driving it stood feet away with another son, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. The incident occurred the morning of April 3 on Gault Street, just off Sepulveda Boulevard.
De La Torre had allegedly been engaged in a fight with her boyfriend while walking in the area and took off when she spotted the vehicle running with an open door.
After about two hours, De La Torre ditched the vehicle and 11-month-old child near the Van Nuys Airport, about a mile away from where they were taken, Los Angeles police have said.
The child was still in his car seat, unharmed, according to the DA’s office, and soon reunited with his family.
De La Torre, however, remained on the lam for more than a month after the incident until she was arrested on May 10.
She was originally identified as a suspect in the case by a motorist who gave her a lift after she abandoned the car and later saw reports about the carjacking on the news. Vehicle prints and DNA were also used to identify her, police said.
Authorities did not release details on how she was found.
Investigators previously alleged De La Torre had a lengthy criminal history that included grand theft auto, identity theft and drug crimes.
She is expected to be sentenced on July 3 and faces four years in state prison, prosecutors said.