Trial ordered for parents in death of baby left in car overnight

EL CAJON (CNS) – The parents of a 4-month-old boy who died after being left in a car must stand trial on felony child endangerment and drug charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Israel Soto, 30, and Jessica Quezada, 22, remain free on $100,000 bail. The baby's body temperature was 107 degrees when he was found, Deputy District Attorney Carlos Campbell said.

After a preliminary hearing over two days, Judge William McGrath ruled that enough incriminating evidence had been presented for the defendants to stand trial Jan. 27.

In addition to child endangerment causing death, Quezada is charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and a misdemeanor count of having a meth pipe. She faces up to 12 years and eight months in prison, and Soto faces 12 years behind bars if convicted.

Both defendants were convicted of burglary in 2010, said Deputy District Attorney Carlos Campbell.

The parents were arrested about 9:45 p.m. July 27, several hours after their son, Giovanni Soto, was found unresponsive in a hot car. An El Cajon police officer tried unsuccessfully tried to revive boy.

At the defendants' arraignment, Campbell said the parents came home to their apartment about 10:30 p.m. on July 26 after going to Walmart.

The couple took their three other children — 1, 2 and 3 years old — into the apartment but left the baby boy in the car, Campbell said.

Soto and Quezada let the three children sleep in their bed, but no one realized Giovanni was missing until about 1 p.m. the next day. When the parents woke up, an uncle found the baby in the car, Campbell said.

In the family's apartment, police found methamphetamine and a pipe in Quezada's purse, according to Campbell, who said the mother admitted smoking pot the night they left the baby.

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