Boyfriend, not mom, charged with murder in child’s death

08/22/2014 1:02 PM

08/22/2014 5:02 PM

A Delhi mother and her boyfriend appeared briefly this week in court for the first time facing criminal charges for the death of the woman’s 2-year-old daughter earlier this year.

Kalena M. Olson, 22, and Sergio A. Zamora, 24, both of Delhi, did not enter any pleas Thursday in connection with the death of Olson’s daughter, Hennessy Fagin. The child was found dead April 21 at a home in the 9600 block of Hillside Drive in Delhi. Both defendants were arrested Aug. 16 in Turlock on suspicion of murder.

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office, however, opted to formally charge only Zamora with murder and charged Olson, instead, with two felony counts of child endangerment.

Steve Slocum, the deputy district attorney prosecuting the case, said he could not comment on the details of the case or why Olson was not charged with murder. “I can say that we reviewed the case and made the filing decision based on the facts we have,” Slocum told the Merced Sun-Star.

The arraignments for both defendants were rescheduled to Tuesday morning before Merced Superior Court Judge Marc A. Garcia to allow Olson and Zamora time to find attorneys, according to records filed with the Court Clerk’s Office.

Prosecutors charged Zamora with murder and assaulting a child causing death. If convicted, Zamora faces a potential life prison sentence. Olson was charged with two counts of child endangerment and faces a maximum state prison sentence of eight years, if convicted, authorities said.

Olson is accused of endangering both Hennessy, and her other child, a 3-year-old girl who was placed in the custody of Child Protective Services in April. According to the complaint, both children were placed in “circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm or death” between Jan. 1 and April 21.

Detectives with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crimes Unit have not said exactly how they believe the toddler was killed. Investigators have said the child was suffocated and both children appeared to have been physically abused in similar ways.

Olson was first arrested in April after the child’s death, but was released without formal charges while detectives continued to look into the case. A monthslong investigation culminated Aug. 16 when both Zamora and Olson were taken into custody by Turlock police. Officers surrounded a home in the 900 block of South Avenue in Turlock and both suspects were arrested a short time later, officers said.

Both defendants remained in custody Friday at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility. Olson’s bail was set at $200,000. Zamora’s bail was listed as more than $1.1 million.

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