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Indio Woman Faces Life Prison Sentence For Toddler Beating

An Indio woman convicted in the beating death of her 20- month-old son will face life in prison when she sentenced today.

Ana Cedillo, 27, was found guilty in June of second-degree murder, attempted assault of a child with force and child abuse in the Sept. 28, 2007, death of Oscar Zuniga Jr.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Ross said during trial the child suffered a long list of injuries, including a ruptured lower intestine, bruising to the brain, hemorrhage of the optic nerve and a chipped tooth, as well as rib fractures that were inflicted at least 10 days before his death.

The toddler showed symptoms of vomiting, loss of appetite and fever for two days before he died, the prosecutor said.

The defendant did not like her son because the toddler favored his father, according to Ross.

Cedillo’s attorney, Mario Rodriguez, argued the child’s death was most likely accidental. Oscar, who had developmental problems, would try to walk and often fell on a tile floor, he said.

The attorney said Cedillo’s 7-year-old “hyperactive” son would often play with his younger brother and sometimes dropped him in the yard.

“When the brothers would sleep in the same bed, little Oscar would tickle his brother’s feet and (the brother) would kick him,” Rodriguez said.

The child’s father, Oscar Zuniga Sr., pleaded guilty to child endangerment in December 2008 and received a two-year prison sentence.

KESQ News Team

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