Chesterfield County babysitter acquitted of killing child in her care

Crime

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (AP) — A woman living in Virginia has been found not guilty of fatally injuring a 7-month-old girl she was babysitting.

Lirio Jazmin Godinez-Gonzalez, of Mexico, was acquitted of felony homicide and child neglect charges in Chesterfield Circuit Court on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old was accused of involvement in the death of Ashley Bonilla-Rodriquez, who died of blunt-force trauma to the head two days after being taken to a hospital in December 2018, according to the medical examiner. Godinez-Gonzalez was watching three children at the time, including her own, Chesterfield County investigators have said.

But prosecutors couldn’t prove during the two-day trial that Ashley’s fatal injuries happened while she was in Godinez-Gonzalez’s care, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported. Medical testimony showed that the injuries likely happened the morning the child was left with Godinez-Gonzalez, but couldn’t be placed exactly within the time frame the infant was away from her mother. Other records showed Ashley had sustained severe injuries, possibly up to two weeks before the day she died, according to the Times-Dispatch.

Godinez-Gonzalez was living in the U.S. illegally when she was arrested. She initially entered the country legally as a nonimmigrant visitor, but failed to leave as required by the terms of her visa, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement told news outlets. Godinez-Gonzalez was being held in Atlanta in ICE custody while she awaited trial.

It’s unclear whether she will now return to Mexico.

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