Child murder case contentious

first_imgALHAMBRA – A prosecutor and defense attorneys argued Monday over whether it was clear to hospital officials who saw 2-year-old Sarah Chavez the night before she died that she was in danger.Because of time constraints, Alhambra Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench was unable to render a decision on the third day of the preliminary hearing for Armando Abundis Sr., 32, and Frances Abundis, 35, believed to be Sarah’s mother’s aunt. The couple has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, child abuse and assault in connection with the toddler’s slaying. Sarah was found dead in the Abundises’ Alhambra home by police after a 9-1-1 call by Frances Abundis the morning of Oct. 11, saying the child was not breathing.Frances Abundis, a heavy-set woman with long black hair pulled back in a ponytail, wept quietly several times Monday. Armando Abundis Sr., a small man with a thin mustache, showed little emotion in court.On the stand Thursday, Los Angeles County Coroner Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. David Whiteman, who performed Sarah’s autopsy, said the primary cause of the child’s death was a blow to the lower abdomen that must have been inflicted by an adult, which severed a portion of her small intestine.On the evening of Oct. 10, Sarah was brought into Monterey Park’s Garfield Medical Center with a broken arm by Frances Abundis and her mother. After about four hours, Abundis took Sarah out of the hospital, signing a form saying she was taking the child “against medical advice.” While at the hospital, Sarah was examined by Dr. Delores De Cruz and registered nurse Angela Chung, both of whom invoked their Fifth Amendment right not to speak at the hearing Thursday.Frances Abundis’ defense attorney, Alex Kessel, said De Cruz and Chung concluded the arm injury was not caused by child abuse after both examined an X-ray.Reading from his reports, Kessel noted that Chung said the fracture “was consistent with accidental injury,” saying Chung then mentioned that one of the other hospital nurses had a son who sustained a similar injury from falling a short distance off a swing.Kessel contended that his client removed Sarah from the hospital because the doctor told her that Sarah did not require emergency surgery. Kessel also said Frances Abundis was given the name of an orthopedic surgeon she could contact in the morning.In closing arguments, defense attorney for Armando Abundis Sr. Ronald Hedding said he doubted the credibility of Whiteman’s statements that the blow must have come from an adult. Kessel was in the middle of his final arguments when Lench had to stop the hearing for the day because the court reporter was leaving. The hearing will resume at 9 a.m. today in Alhambra Superior Court, Dept. W. [email protected](626) 578-6300, Ext. 4496 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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