A 2-year-old girl suffered a fatal seizure after ingesting chili powder and a woman was arrested in connection with the death, police said on Monday.
Amanda Dawn Sorensen, of Apple Valley, was booked on a child abuse charge into the San Bernardino County Jail. She’s scheduled to make her first court appearance on Wednesday, officials said.
Police said the suspect is the victim's father's girlfriend, said Jody Miller, a spokeswoman with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Details about the whereabouts of the biological mother were unknown.
Authorities uncovered the case after being called out to a report of a girl suffering from a seizure after ingesting chili powder at a house in the 20000 block of Cayuga Road in Apple Valley on Sunday afternoon.
The girl, whose name was not released, died at a hospital.
Authorities did not talk about the circumstances surrounding the death and didn't say if the chili powder was used as a form of discipline or punishment.
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
Neighbors said they didn't notice anything unusual about the house where they saw several kids from toddlers to grad school age and guardians come and go.
"I would give them the benefit of the doubt," said neighbor Patricia Amado. "I can't imagine a parent purposely doing something like that to a young child."
A then 21-year-old mother in Texas was sentenced in 2005 to seven years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter in the suffocation death of her 5-month-old daughter.
The woman had been charged with capital murder, but jurors convicted her on the lesser charge after deliberating for nearly 11 hours.
The infant suffocated on chili powder after the mother used it to try to get the child to stop sucking her thumb.
The defense says she made a mistake using the powder but tried to save her daughter's life.