Fontana Mother Charged With Murder in Death of 3-Year-Old Girl; Victim ID’d
A Fontana mother who was on probation following a previous child abuse conviction was charged Tuesday with murder in the death of her toddler daughter, officials said.
The victim has been identified as 3-year-old Angela Rojo, who died Sunday at Loma Linda University Medical Center after being hospitalized last Wednesday, according to Gabe Morales with the San Bernardino County coroner’s office.
The girl had sustained “significant visible injuries throughout the body,” Fontana police spokesman Jay Sayegh said.
Her mother, 37-year-old Miriam Sandoval, is facing a murder change, while the father, 34-year-old Richard Rojo, is expected to be arraigned next week on a felony child endangerment charge, said Kimberly Fuller with the county district attorney’s office.
Angela is the same child who Sandoval was previously convicted of abusing, Sayegh said.
The girl is survived by two siblings, a twin sister and a 6-year-old brother, both of whom are in the custody of Children and Family Services. The other children showed no signs of abuse, according to the police spokesman.
Sayegh said the department is experiencing some “frustration” because Sandoval was given a light sentence in the previous case.
Angela was about 3 months old when she was taken to the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center with multiple broken bones in July 2015, and police were called to investigate. Officials determined Sandoval was behind the abuse and arrested her, Sayegh said.
Sandoval gave investigators a full confession and was convicted, but she cut a plea deal with prosecutors and ultimately served six months of a one-year sentence.
“Why they did that with somebody who broke the bones of a 3-month-old, we don’t know,” Sayegh said of the DA’s office.
The father, Richard, had been given full custody of their three children because officials determined he was not involved and had no reason to suspect he was abusive. But once Sandoval was released, she was able to work her way back into the children’s lives, Sayegh said.
Authorities were called last Wednesday afternoon to the family’s home in the 9500 block of Madrona Drive, where Angela was found not breathing with her face turning blue. She was hospitalized but ultimately succumbed to her injuries on Sunday.
Both parents were arrested that Wednesday, with Richard expected to face a child endangerment charge for allegedly failing to report Sandoval.
“He had ample opportunity, several signs that he should have taken action to protect those children,” Sayegh said.
Sandoval was being held without bail and expected to return to court for a pretrial hearing next Monday, March 11. Richard is expected to be arraigned March 11 and was being held in lieu of $50,000 bond.