Emotional testimony in case of El Cajon parents accused of leaving baby in hot car for 15 hours
4-month-old's body temperature topped 107 degrees
Last Updated: 64 days ago
EL CAJON, Calif. - There were tears in the courtroom as testimony began in the child cruelty case of the El Cajon couple whose baby boy died after being locked inside a hot car.
Jessica Quezada and Israel Soto are charged with child cruelty after investigators say they left 4-month-old Giovanni strapped in his car seat for more than 15 hours.
Testimony showed the couple took their four children to WalMart at about 10pm on July 26. Quezada's brother, Carlos Villareal, and his girlfriend, Adelina Gomez, drove in a separate vehicle. After about an hour of shopping, Villareal testified they returned to the family apartment on Mollison Street.
The older children were playing and the women were putting away groceries. Villareal testified he thought Giovanni had already been put to bed.
Villareal and Gomez testified they watched a movie and went outside to smoke marijuana. When Quezada joined them, they testified she took two drags off a "blunt" and went to the bedroom she shares with her husband and four children.
She woke up at about 1 p.m. the next day and asked Gomez where Giovanni was.
"I told her that I didn't have him and that I thought she did," said Gomez, who added that Quezada thought someone was playing a joke on her.
The adults began searching and Villareal testified he found Giovanni's lifeless body still strapped in his car seat.
"I said open the vehicle, open the car," he said.
It was too late. Attempts to revive Giovanni were unsuccessful.
The Medical Examiner testified the baby's body temperature was more than 107 degrees. He died of hyperthermia.
The preliminary hearing was cut short by another case, but will resume next Tuesday.
If the case goes to trial and the couple is convicted, Soto faces eight years in prison. Quezada faces eight years and four months because of evidence she had drugs in her possession.
The couple's three other children are now living with their grandmother.
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