LOS ANGELES – A California mother has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after authorities discovered she had hidden her 11-year-old son’s body in a closet in 2016. Veronica Aguilar, 46, pleaded no contest to the charge of assault on a child causing death. Her son, Yonatan Daniel Aguilar, was found dead in their Los Angeles home in August 2016, weighing just 34 pounds and showing signs of neglect and abuse.
According to City News Service, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that Yonatan died from the effects of multiple drugs, dehydration, and generalized neglect. The young boy had been kept in the closet for three years before dying. He suffered from malnourishment and food deprivation.
During her recent sentencing, Judge Larry Paul Fidler called the case “tragic” and remarked that the boy must have experienced “terror and fear.” Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott stated that Aguilar’s sentence reflected the gravity of the crime and the child’s life that was unjustly cut short due to years of neglect and abuse.
During the 2019 hearing, it was revealed that Aguilar had claimed her son was “pure evil” and had given him medication to calm him while he slept in a closet. The boy’s stepfather had mistakenly believed the boy was residing in Mexico with a family friend and was unaware of the child’s living conditions. The stepfather told police his wife, Veronica Aguilar, told him her 11-year-old son was dead. He then found the victim wrapped in a blanket in a closet of the home.
His teachers reported he was hungry, stealing food, and had a black eye and that his mother had removed him from school, telling everyone she “had sent him to Mexico to a special school.”
According to reports, he was malnourished and physically abused, and he had been dead for a few hours before the police arrived. Aguilar, who was 39 at the time of the incident, was booked into jail on a charge of child endangerment resulting in death or great bodily injury.
Child abuse pediatrics specialist Dr. Janet Arnold-Clark testified that Yonatan had suffered from long-term malnourishment. The case highlights the tragic consequences of neglect and abuse within families, as well as the importance of early intervention and protective measures to safeguard the well-being of children.