Family of California mom charged with murder after smothering her baby with her breast while feeding say she’s a devoted, but overwhelmed parent who ‘needs help, not jail’
Celina Juarez, 29, is held in custody, charged with murder for the death of her eight-month-old daughter Melani
On November 4th, the mother-of-three from San Jose, tried to feed Melani and her sister Zari after returning home from church
The babies were ‘fussy’ and ‘wouldn’t latch on’ to her breasts which frustrated her, according to police
In a rage, she held Melani forcefully against her breast until the infant kicked her legs and ‘gasped for air’
She did the same with the other twin, preformed CPR on the girls then waited 20 minutes before calling 911
Her family say she’s a devoted parent who became overwhelmed when infant twins wouldn’t ‘latch on’
One of the twin girls survive, but her husband is standing by her and fundraising for her defense
Artemio Juarez said his wife ‘needs help, not jail’
A California mother-of-three has been charged with homicide for smothering her infant daughter with her breast, Celina Juarez, 29, of San Jose frustrated the twin wouldn’t latch on to feed, allegedly snapped, pressing 8-month-old daughter Melani to her skin for 10 minutes as the baby kicked and gasped for air Nov. 4, police charged.
Juarez then picked up Melani’s twin sister, Zari, and tried to smother her as well, the San Jose Police Department alleged in a press release.
When first responders arrived, an unconscious Melani was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead. Juarez was charged nearly two weeks later with one count of homicide.
Friends and relatives insisted Juarez is a dedicated mom who needs mental health help – she snapped in a moment of weakness and doesn’t deserve jail. They are now raising money for her legal defense.
Celina Juarez is in custody in San Jose accused of murdering her eight-month-old daughter Melani.
Her husband Artemio Juarez who is standing by her started fundraising for her defense, in a gofundme post with a family portrait with himself, his wife holding their now deceased infant daughter Melani, her twin sister Zari, and their two-year-old brother.
Police say the mother intentionally killed her daughter, and that she was hungry after not eating throughout the day.
Contradicting the police hypothesis, the family insist Celina is a loving and dedicated mother who was overwhelmed and overworked trying to care for a toddler and infant twins.
Artemio insists his wife needs ‘help not jail’.
‘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,’ he said.
The crowd funding defense fund has raised over $3,720 of the $10,000 goal.
Police say the breastfeeding mother held Melani against her breast forcefully, ignoring her as she ‘gasped for air’ and kicked her legs, then placed her on a bed in the home. She then picked up Zari and attempted to do the same.
After trying to smother them both, she waited 20 minutes and then phoned her mother, who rushed to the house.
Celina performed CPR on the girls then told her brother, who called 911, police said.
The infant twins were then taken to the hospital, where Melani was pronounced dead.
Celina was charged with one count of murder and is being held in custody.
Her friends have rushed to defend her, writing character statements in an attempt to appeal to the judge.
‘We love her and we know the truth, and we wish everyone can be more aware about mental health and that nobody is immune, she is going through a tragedy and she deserves freedom and mental health services, not incarcerating her for an accident,’ one of her friends wrote.
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