An Apple Valley woman accused of feeding chili powder to her boyfriend's daughter, causing the toddler to have a seizure and die, has been charged with first-degree murder, prosecutors said Wednesday.
In a complaint filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court in Victorville, prosecutors said that Amanda Sorensen, 21, acted with "malice aforethought" to murder the child, a 2-year-old who was called Joileen G. in court papers.
The girl was earlier identified by the San Bernardino County coroner's office as Joileen Garcia, shown in a family photo below.
The complaint also accused Sorensen with assaulting a child.
Authorities were called out on a report of a girl suffering from a seizure after ingesting chili powder at a home in the 20000 block of Cayuga Road in Apple Valley on Sunday.
She later died at a hospital. Sorensen, the girlfriend of Joileen’s father, was booked on suspicion of assaulting a child and causing death into the San Bernardino County Jail, online records show.
At the courthouse Wednesday was a man who said he was the boyfriend of the toddler's biological mother. Manuel Lopez said he had raised Joileen since she was 1 1/2 year old and considered himslef her father.
"Early in the morning, she would always jump into bed with us. She went with us everywhere," Lopez said. "Bright kid, smart, intelligent, running around. ... She loved animals and horses."
He said Joileen's biological mother was devastated.
"She's just broken down," Lopez said.
NBC4's Jacob Rascon contributed to this article.