Fontana Mother to be Charged Tuesday in Death of Daughter, Previously Abused as Infant

A Fontana mother previously jailed for child abuse faces a new charge in connection with the death of her 3-year-old daughter.

Miriam Sandoval, 37, is expected to be arraigned Tuesday on a charge of assault on a child causing death.

A 911 call Wednesday brought responders to the Madrona Drive house the couple shared with their twin daughters and son. One was not breathing, and showed evidence of physical trauma determined to be caused by abuse, according to Fontana Police Officer Jay Sayegh. She was transported to hospital, and clung to life four days until she succumbed Sunday.

Husband Richard Rojo, 34, was also arrested Wednesday and charged with child abuse. Sayegh said Rojo had failed to take actions to protect the child. Investigators believe the mortal injuries were inflicted by Sandoval. She has already been charged, but the District Attorney Monday amended the complaint with a more serious charge after the child's death.

Sandoval previously had been arrested in 2015 for corporal abuse of the same child, who was only three months old then. At that time using the name Miriam Montano, court records indicate she pleaded no contest, served a portion of 2016 in jail and also, per court order, enrolled in a one year child abuse treatment program, which she completed in November of 2017.

"Client did positive progress," reads in part the "Provider Statement" included in the report to the court. "We wish client well," it stated.

"She acted like she didn't do anything," said sister in law Ana Rojo, grieving the death of her niece, whom she identified as Angela.  "Now we know that she did."


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Editor's Note: It has been 15 months since Sandoval completed a treatment program, not three months as stated in the above video. We regret the error and have updated the text below.

Ana Rojo said after the initial abuse case, she and her family had cared for the three children for more than a year. Then her brother, Sandoval's husband, gained custody of the children, and told her that Sandoval would be returning home after she completed the treatment program.

San Bernardino County Children and Family Services (CFS) confirmed that the child had been removed from the mother's custody in 2015, "and CFS never returned the child back to the mother's custody," according to a statement issued by C.L. Lopez, Human Services Communications Officer.

The statement did not address any restrictions on Sandoval seeing her children or living in the same house with her husband and them.

Apart from the physical abuse, the child who died was malnourished, Sayegh said.

Angela's twin and the son, 7, were taken into county protective care.  Ana Rojo said her family will again seek approval to have the children placed in their care.

The call for Angela came a day after the attack on two young children in the nearby city of Upland, allegedly by their mother Tierra Rose Ortega, who also faces a charge of assault on a child causing death, in addition to attempted murder of her son.

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