Upland Community Shocked After Family Tragedy; Mom Facing Murder Charges

A community is still reeling after a shocking tragedy in which a mother threw her 1-year-old son from an apartment complex balcony before she herself jumped. Both the mother and toddler survived, but police at the scene discovered a baby girl inside the apartment unresponsive.

The baby, believed to be about 6 or 7 months old, was taken to the hospital where she died.

Police on Tuesday evening said that woman, 24-year-old Tierra Ortega, was in the hospital, and expected to be booked on suspicion of homicide, attempted homicide, and two felony counts of child abuse.

The toddler had to be airlifted to Loma Linda Medical Center after his mother threw him off the second-story balcony. Police said she jumped when they arrived.

Officers then searched the apartment, where they found the baby unresponsive.

"We believe the female infant had a skull fracture and some internal injuries," Upland Police Captain Marcelo Blanco said.

The baby was also airlifted to the hospital, but died of her injuries a short time later.

Neighbors are in disbelief.

"My heart is broken because they're two innocent kids," neighbor Michelle Furlong said.

Police said Ortega was taken to the hospital with facial injuries, and her son with a broken foot.

A neighbor who saw Ortega allegedly throw her child off the balcony also had to be taken to the hospital, suffering what another neighbor called, a nervous breakdown.

"It really affected her. She said she seen the baby thrown, how she grabbed the baby and threw it and then she threw herself," Furlong said.

Ortega's husband wasn't home at the time of the incident. When he got there, police had to break the horrific news to him.

Neighbors said they had never witnessed any problems at the couple's apartment, and they seemed like very nice people.

"I feel very sad, you know, for the baby, the girl," neighbor Alma Furlong said. "Six months only. And the son. I don't know what happened to her really, because she looked like a very nice girl."

According to the building manager, the Ortegas have only lived at the Wedgewood Avenue complex for the past year.

Tierra has been working as a stay-at-home mom, and her husband, in the waste management industry. The two were apparently from La Puente, where they met at church.

Neighbors said Tierra's sister arrived at the scene and said just two days ago, she and Tierra were sharing stories and photos of their kids.

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