(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) The Alexandria woman whose infant died after being locked in a hot car for six hours on a sweltering July day pleaded guilty today to felony child neglect.
Zoraida Magal Conde Hernandez, 32, submitted an Alford plea, meaning she accepts the verdict without technically admitting guilt in the case. Hernandez and Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos agreed to two years and six months of probation, and, barring a violation, a dismissal of charges after that.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Molly Newton said Hernandez, after dropping two other children off at their summer activities in Alexandria, forgot that her 8-month-old son was strapped in his car seat when she drove to her job at the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and locked her car in the parking lot.
Newton said it was only when she picked up her 3-year-old daughter on July 5 at 3:30 p.m. did she notice the baby was purple and not breathing. Hernandez then drove to Inova Alexandria Hospital, where the baby was pronounced dead from hyperthermia with an internal temperature of 108 degrees.
“It has been a very difficult case for everyone involved,” Newton told the judge. “We’ve always believed the case has been a crime. The reaction from the community has not been such.”
Newton said that sympathy for the mother in similar cases has led to acquittals despite the evidence. Stamos said after the plea hearing that, in some jurisdictions, Hernandez’s crime wouldn’t bring charges. It’s unusual, Stamos said, for a felony case to “be adjudicated without a finding of guilt.”
“Clearly there are strong views on either side of this,” Stamos said. “It was difficult for the arresting officer, the medical examiner and the physicians involved.”
Stamos said an incident of a child dying in a hot car hadn’t happened in Arlington in 28 years. If Hernandez had been found guilty by a jury, she could have been incarcerated for anywhere from one day to five years. Newton said that, because Hernandez was incarcerated for two weeks before and after her bond hearing, the Commonwealth’s Attorney felt further incarceration wasn’t necessary.
“We want her to be accountable,” Newton said. “By entering this plea, she is. She has done everything we have wanted her to do.”
Hernandez’s other four children are still with Child Protective Services in Alexandria, and her case is making its way through that city’s administrative and court system, Newton said. Hernandez didn’t noticeably react during the proceeding, which took a little less than a half hour, even when Newton read the prosecution’s account of July 5′s event.
Photo via ACPD
The incident happened around 6:00 last night. Police say Arlington resident Jose Sanchez, 56, was seen masturbating behind a shopping center on the 4800 block of Columbia Pike, while watching children at a nearby playground.
Sanchez was apprehended by Arlington County Police and charged with indecent exposure. Detectives are now trying to determine whether Sanchez could be linked with other, similar cases.
“Our Special Victims Unit will be reviewing similar cases from the past to see if this individual is related to any of those,” police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck told ARLnow.com.
Photo courtesy ACPD
The Alexandria woman accused of fatally locking her 8-month-old son in a hot car earlier this month had her bond set at $25,000 in Arlington County Circuit Court on Thursday morning.
Zoraida Magal Conde Hernandez, 32, reached an agreement with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office to have supervised visits with her four other children. She is not allowed unsupervised contact.
The Alexandria Department of Community & Human Services agreed to allow the supervised visits and to conduct a mental health evaluation, complete with a risk assessment, before Conde Hernandez is allowed back in her home.
Conde Hernandez was arrested July 6 after police say she forgot her child in her car, in the sweltering heat, for six hours while she was at work . The car was parked on the 200 block of S. Glebe Road.
She “noticed the baby was left inside his car seat when she arrived at a daycare to pick up one of her other children,” according to the Arlington County Police Department. “The baby was unresponsive and she immediately drove to Inova Alexandria hospital, where the child was pronounced dead a short time later.”
Hernandez is charged with felony child neglect. Her case was appealed to the Circuit Court for the bond hearing, and the next steps will take place in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Photo via ACPD
Police say 19-year-old Paul Noland, who lives with his parents in Alcova Heights, lured the boy into this pickup truck around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, on the 3600 block of 8th Street S. Noland is accused of showing the boy — who lives in the neighborhood — child pornography on his iPad, then touching him inappropriately.
The boy’s parents were outside doing yard work at the time of the incident, police said. From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
SEXUAL BATTERY, 05/21/13, 3600 block of S. 8th Street. At 8:00 pm on May 21, a child reported he was sexually assaulted and shown child pornography by a male neighbor. Paul Jaquet Noland, 19, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual battery. He is being held without bond.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Miguel Angel Pinedo-Valdivia, 50, has been charged with Attempted Forcible Sodomy in connection with an incident on Thursday, April 11. Police say Pinedo-Valdivia, who has ties to residences in Arlington County and Maryland, picked up a 17-year-old boy outside a restaurant on the 4100 block of Columbia Pike, offering the boy potential work.
“The victim, being in the country only a few months, was tricked into a back seat of a vehicle thinking he had an offer of employment,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Pinedo-Valdivia drove his Mercedes sedan into Maryland, where he engaged in “aggressive sexual advances…. and inappropriate touching” of the boy, according to Sternbeck. The man then drove back into Arlington County, where he again tried to sexually assault the 17-year-old, Sternbeck said.
“After numerous unsuccessful attempts to sexually assault the victim, along with additional pleas to stop, the suspect then allowed the victim to exit the vehicle,” said Sternbeck.
Investigators believe Pinedo-Valdivia may have assaulted other young immigrants, and are asking for any victims to step forward.
“Information revealed in the investigation indicates that there are potentially other victims and police believe Pinedo-Valdivia could be targeting the Hispanic immigrant population,” police said in a press release. “Anyone who has information about this suspect or has information on additional victims is asked to call Detective Hermes Molina at 703.228.4208 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”
Arlington police arrested 47-year-old Luis Hoil yesterday and charged him with Forcible Sodomy. He’s being held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Center.
Investigators say Hoil sexually assaulted a juvenile male between 1999 and 2001. Hoil was the coach of the Crystal City Soccer Club from 1998 to 2003. The club serves students of Oakridge Elementary and Gunston Middle schools.
Hoil has lived in Arlington for the past 20 years, police said. Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Arlington County Police Department Tip Line at 703-228-4242.