Central Valley

DA: Baby in Turlock Dumpster died from 'asphyxiation by suffocation'

The newborn girl found in a Turlock trash bin in November died of suffocation, the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Office said today.

The coroner's report lists the cause of death for Maria Mae Betts as "asphyxiation by suffocation," said Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees.

Authorities arrested her mother, Jessica Mae Betts, 19, of Turlock on a charge of first-degree murder the same month.

Betts told police she delivered a baby girl in the bathroom of her boyfriend's house, wrapped the newborn in a pair of purple sweatpants and a towel, and drove to Save Mart in her boyfriend's white Chevrolet, where she cried as her baby's breathing slowed and then stopped, according to search warrant documents.

Betts told detectives she didn't know how the newborn got into the Dumpster near the Lander Avenue Save Mart.

She has pleaded not guilty and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted. Betts remains in custody at the Public Safety Center in Modesto with a bail of $1 million.