Mother Sentenced for Hiding Special Needs Child, 11, in Closet Until He Died, Weighing 34 Pounds
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A Los Angeles woman was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after she pleaded no contest to drugging her special needs son and hiding him in a closet until he died.

Veronica Aguilar, now 46, told her husband, 11-year-old Yonatan Daniel Aguilar’s stepfather, that she had sent to boy back to Mexico because she felt she couldn’t get him the treatment he needed because she was undocumented, as CrimeOnline reported.

Police found Yonatan’s body inside the home on August 22, 2016, when Pinzon Avila called 911 to say he’d come home to find Aguilar behaving oddly, claiming “her life was over.” She told Avila that Yonatan had died, and that she hadn’t sent him back to Mexico but kept him in a closet for three years, giving him medication to calm him and keep him quiet in the closet.

At a preliminary hearing in 2019, a judge determined there was not enough evidence to proceed to trial, The Los Angeles Patch reported. She told detectives that the boy was difficult at school and at home, prompting her to put him in the closet, where he was deprived of food and companionship. The boy, nicknamed “Chubby” before he was put in the closet, weighed just 34 pounds when he died.

“She described Yonatan to be pure evil,” Los Angeles Police Det. Sandra Platero testified in 2019, noting that the woman “spoke very highly of her three older children.”

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office determined he died of the combined effects of multiple drugs, and that other significant conditions were dehydration and generalized neglect.

But an expert from the defense testified that he believed the boy suffered from a genetic defect that he believed stunted his growth. Two of Aguilar’s other children also testified they were afraid of their brother and never saw their mother abuse him.

Aguilar has been in jail since her arrest in 2016. She was initially charged with first degree murder and pleaded no contest to assault on a child causing death.

Deputy District Attorney Alexander Bott said after the sentencing hearing on Friday that the boy had suffered “years of neglect and abuse.”

The plea “represents a significant and appropriate outcome reflective of the gravity of the crime committed,” he said, calling the victim “an innocent child whose life was tragically and unjustly cut short by the years of neglect and abuse at the hands of his mother.”

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