A California mother is being accused of homicide after the simple act of breastfeeding turned tragic.
On November 4, officers from the San Jose Police Department responded to a call of two unconscious 8-month-old twins, Melani and Zari, at a residence in San Jose, California. The SJPD explained in a press release on Friday:
“One of the children had stopped breathing. When they arrived, officers immediately began CPR on the infant who was not breathing. Medics arrived as well and took over lifesaving measures. Both infants were transported to local hospitals.”
The following day, Melani was pronounced dead. According to the release, homicide detectives with the Santa Clara County Severe Child Injury and Death team opened an investigation into the incident, learning that Celina Juarez, mother of the twins, was caring for them at the time of the incident. However, in the “preliminary stages,” of said investigation, Juarez had to be hospitalized for an “unknown medical emergency.” This delayed the legal action until November 16 when she was released, and on that same day, charged with homicide. She was taken into custody by the San José Metro Unit, and later booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.
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Here’s where the story gets truly upsetting…
According to court documents obtained by KRON4, Juarez told authorities she was attempting to breastfeed her twins, which she had not done in an unclear amount of time. The 29-year-old explained she picked up Melani and firmly placed her against her right breast, “not allowing her to come up for air.” She told investigators she was trying to get Melani to “latch on” and became “frustrated” when she would not.
The documents further explain Juarez felt her infant daughter struggling, gasping for air and kicking her legs — but continued pinning the child against her breast for what she believes to be another 10 minutes. Apparently, after noticing the infant had stopped breathing, the mother CONTINUED to press Melani’s mouth against her breast for ANOTHER two minutes, before laying her unconscious body down on a bed. She then picked up the other twin, Zari, and did the same until the 8-month-old fell unconscious. Juarez then waited approximately 20 minutes before asking her mother for help, and soon after, the two began attempting CPR.
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When Juarez’s brother returned home, they informed him of what had happened, and he was the one who called 911. See more (below):
As of now, it’s unclear if the suspect has retained legal counsel or entered any sort of plea deal. What a horrible situation for the little angels. We hope Zari makes a full recovery. May Melani rest in peace.
[Images via San Jose Police Department & NBC Bay Area/YouTube]