She Killed Her Baby While Breastfeeding, Now The Family Is Trying To…


The family of a mother charged with murder after smothering one of her eight-month-old twin daughters to death with her breast is appealing for donations and help from the public, saying the overwhelmed, young mother-of-three snapped in a moment of weakness and doesn’t deserve jail.

On Nov. 4, police responded to a call about two unconscious 8-month-old twins at a home in San Jose, Calif. When officers arrived, one of the twins was not breathing, according to police reports.

Authorities allege that 29-year-old Celina Juarez was having difficulty getting her 8-month-old daughter Melani to latch on while attempting to breastfeed. Juarez allegedly pressed the girl to her breast for 10 minutes “not allowing her to come up for air,” even as the baby struggled to breathe and kicked, according to court records.

Juarez told investigators that she took the twins and her 2-year-old son to church after their father left for work, leaving the house of worship and returning home at around noon. Juarez’s mother then reportedly took the little boy with her to “run errands” while Juarez stayed home with the twins.

Juarez reportedly claimed she had not eaten anything all day. She allegedly said that although she usually feeds the twins bottles, they were “sick” and “fussy” that day, so she decided to help them get “proper nutrients” by breastfeeding. Picking up Melani, Juarez reportedly “intentionally pushed her baby very hard against her right breast not allowing her to come up for air.”

Juarez reportedly admitted that she could see Melani’s “legs kicking” and the baby “gasping for air” as she continued pushing the infant against her breast for approximately 10 minutes — even after she saw that Melani had stopped breathing for approximately two minutes. Afterward, she reportedly placed the baby on the bed and picked up her sister.

Holding Melani’s sister, Juarez reportedly said that she put the baby to her breast and “pushed very hard,” “without letting her come up for air.”

When she was done trying to feed the second child, Juarez reportedly waited approximately 20 minutes before calling her own mother. The woman came home and helped Juarez perform CPR on the children. Juarez’s brother then came home and called 911.

Melani was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit for treatment but succumbed to her injuries; she was pronounced dead the following day.

Detectives with the department’s Homicide Unit and members of the Santa Clara County Severe Child Injury and Death (SCID) team then opened a “comprehensive and thorough” investigation into the circumstances of Melani’s death. Police said that during their investigation, Juarez was also admitted to the hospital.

According to AWM:

The family is seeking ten thousand dollars of donations. So far they have received more than three thousand dollars from generous people who believe the mother simply made a terrible mistake by smothering her infant daughter to death with her breast.

“Those who know her, know this is not in her character. She has devoted her entire life to children and her life revolves around our children and our family. There are two sides to every story and we need all the help we can get to give Celina the chance to say hers! This judgment is not right she is a victim here too,” Artemio said.

In fact, friends of the family have come to the mother’s defense, the outlet reported. 

“We love her and we know the truth, and we wish everyone can be more aware of mental health and that nobody is immune, she is going through a tragedy and she deserves the freedom and mental health services, not incarcerating her for an accident,” Jesus Carbajal said.

“This is a mother who needs help, not to be vilified,” said Crystal Conroy, another friend.

Sources: AWM, KTVU

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