Attorney: Fear Of Jehovah Witness Family Drove OC Mom To Drown Baby

SANTA ANA (CBS) — A young Fullerton mom is headed to prison on Friday for drowning her newborn baby in a toilet.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports Yanira Valderrama, 21, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of child abuse and inflicting great bodily injury.

Valderrama was reportedly embarrassed by her pregnancy and attempted to conceal it from her Jehovah Witness family, a deputy public defender said.

Orange County prosecutor Steve McGreevy said Valderrama’s baby boy drowned when she gave birth into a bathroom toilet on Sept. 4, 2009.

“There was a lot of bleeding and shock, and she unfortunately didn’t act well and left the baby underwater for an extended period of time so that the baby could never get oxygen,” said McGreevy.

She eventually removed the baby from the toilet, wrapped his lifeless body, and put the baby in a wastebasket in her bedroom, McGreevy said.

Later that night, the defendant’s mother saw blood in the bathroom, found the discarded placenta and called police, who found the newborn in the trash can.

Valderrama was taken to a hospital, where doctors confirmed she had just given birth, according to prosecutors.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • alan hart

    If she agrees to be sterilized, she should get time off for good behavior.

  • C.W. in L.A.

    What the hell, what part of this is not murder. I don’t give a —- what her religion was or what was going on. The mother had the same beliefs and she knew to call police, so ignorance is not an excuse.

  • The Big Logic

    Religion is a positive for some, a detriment for others. ‘Desiderata’ ( the poem), is the only religious precept that I follow, as it seems to encompass all that any legitimate religion would espouse.

  • LCR

    I dont think it should matter what the religion is, what she did was so wrong on every level!

  • fatima

    She only got 5 year for killing her baby? Unbelivable she deserved life in prison.

  • Penny M.

    She had no excuse to do that , she could of gone to a hospital or a fire staion to safely surrendered the baby. If she was embarrassed by her pregnacy , what she did is a million times worse, she killed her baby.

  • Howell

    Very, very dumb article. Nowhere does it explain what this crazy woman’s Jehovah Witness relatives had to do with her decision to murder her child.


    in her perticular religion and let me clairify RELIGION that word means a set of rules and regs set down by a person or group by which one must live and abide in order to be part of said group RELIGION in no way is the same as a basic belife in God in the JW RELIGION it is against their rules to take transfusions, against the rules to be preg with out the benifit of a husband and many other things in this girls case she feared her parents and CHURCH rules so much she did this. the MOTHER how ever was not so governed in her calling of athorities since it was NOT HER that sined (based on the religions rules) now let me say I IN NO WAY AGREE WITH WHAT SHE DID SHE SHOULD BE PUNISHED but to say RELIGION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT is simply false in many peoples minds be it Jehovah Witness, catholic, baptist or any other organized church group if you are a seriously devout member then the RULES set by your religion can and often IS EVERYTHING i know i know if her church rules were so important why did she have sex un married in the first place. well my only thought on that is they (as in her and who ever the guy is) thought they could hide that little sin more easy then she could the pregnancy. in short to some people RELIGIOUS RULES OVER RULE BASIC SENCE

    • Mel Gibson

      nobody read long comments such as yours

    • MMM

      She is not a “girl;” she is a 21 year old adult who was probably too lazy to move out on her own if she did not agree to follow the rules of her parents’ household. As others have pointed out, her mother behaved rationally upon finding evidence of a birth in the bathroom. This woman had nothing to fear from her mother or other family members. She obviously did not want the responsibility of providing for herself and her child and estabnlishing her own household with its own rules. She tried to take the easy way out and is now trying to blam her family and religion. Epic Fail.

  • Queen Mommy

    Having been raised as a JW and growing up in a highly “protected” environment and forbidden to read “questionable” literature, books or magazines, let alone socializing with “worldly” people, I know how alone and terrified this poor girl probably felt. There is no reasonable excuse for what she did. Murder IS murder, and I’m sure her family and congregation are horrified, however, it’s the environment they created that left this girl struggling for someone to turn to, a way out, or a reasonable solution. Having a baby out of wedlock is such a shameful thing in this religion, the fear of the consequences is overwhelming to most younger people, especially those who have never known “normal”. She would have been disfellowshipped (excommunicated) and that means anyone who is a JW cannot socialize with her, even her family. It’s like being dead and still walking the earth. She would have been better off, but I doubt she could see that. I feel so horrible for her baby (heartbroken), but my heart breaks for the dilema she was in. People, this girl was brainwashed… it’s not easy to walk away from when it’s all you’ve known. Believe me, I know (but am SO happy I found a way out).

    • Brownie

      How do you know she would have been disfellowshipped? how do you know she was baptized. you sound like an apostate. Why didn’t you say we are admonished to stay away from certain people and practices for our protection? Tell it correctly… If she was BAPTIZED that does not mean she would have been disfellowshipped. Maybe your parents were too strict on you but you shouldn’t let that turn you against Jehovah and tell lies about HIS people.. You know in your heart you are wrong and that this young lady was not brainwashed, she was simply afraid to tell her parents because she knew what she did was wrong, the sin was in the act of fornication not having a baby.. You need to check yourself.. you mentioned you were SO glad you found a way out, lets see how glad you are going to be when Armegeddon comes!! Satan has truly blinded your mind, and hardened your heart!!

    • Green Ha

      I guess “Normal” to you would be fornication, living immorally, oh and don’t forget bashing true Christians that simply follow the Bible. You are actually bashing God who created the Bible; why do you think any true Christian follows it? May God have mercy on your soul.

    • MMM

      Again…she was not a helpless “girl,” she is a 21 year old adult. A lazy 21 year old who is now trying to shift blame for what she did. If you, Mommy, were actually brought up as a Witness, you’d know that thousands of young people leave the organization annually, thinking they’re going to find happiness in the world. No one forces them to stay, and many return years later, wishing they’ds listened to God’s word. This woman had every opportunity to strike out on her own and become a responsible adult, which would have meant getting a job, paying bills, etc…..she just wanted to take the easy way out and hoped that no one would discover what she did to her child—which, BTW, was much more destructive than trying to bring your kid up with morals and standards. Her kid will never have the option of rebelling against her, will it?

  • Silly Me

    Great to hear you were able to find your way out(Queen Mommy)….I have a friend who is JW and they don’t even accept a Birthay gift for their child or celebrate Christmas…what a cold childhood to have…High Five to you Queen Mommy !

  • Guest32

    I was raised Jehovah’s Witness as well, so I can understand the pressure she was probably under, but I gotta say: she was 21 years old.
    By that age, I was long past rejecting the church and leading my own life.
    She also drowned the baby in her parents’ house, discarded both the placenta and the baby itself in trash cans where they were sure to be discovered by her mother, and it was her mother who called police, so she really doesn’t seem too scared for the pregnancy to be found out.

  • Queen Mommy

    Being a JW, for me, meant there were no holidays at all (had to go to the school library when parties or celebrations happened in class), no birthdays (I still don’t know the actual birthdays of most of my family), you must go to Kingdom Hall services (church) 3 days a week, plus have family and personal bible study and go door to door preaching on the weekends (usually both days in my family). The social restrictions are so strict, that even full grown adults, in their 30s, are encouraged to “group date” (AKA chaperoned dates) before making a commitment to date one on one, at which point it’s understood you are serious and will probably marry shortly. Forget birth control, (especially if you’re not married) dating outside your religion or going to college (though they’ve let up on that a little in the last 10 years). JWs are nice, honest and loving people, but they are brainwashed and they continue the tradition with their children. They do look down on the rest of the world (like most religions do) and they have unhealthy control over their followers. They do not have a grip on reality and do not prepare their kids for reality in the real world either.

    My 26 year old sister seriously considered suicide when she found herself pregnant out of wedlock. She was excommunicated instead, and I’m thankful I was there for her, since the rest of my family was not. She’s doing great, now, but it was the darkest time of her life, when having a baby should be a joyous thing.

  • RT

    I agree with “Queen Mommy. Myself being a former JW. For all you JW’s that are reading this post, I left on my own. I did not get kicked out. Anyway, this “cult” ( I do not consider it a Religion) can really brainwash you once you are in it. The fear of God is always being preached at you. If you do this, then you’ll be destroyed, if you don’t do that, you’ll be destroyed. What this girl did is so wrong on all levels. But like any form of abuse,(ie, brainwashing) you feel so alone and feel there is no way out. She will pay for the rest of her life. But Jehovah is merciful and forgiving. Why else would Jesus’ have died for our sins. And yes, Jehovah is God’s name for everyone, Not just for the JW’s.

    • brownie

      RT you are talking out both sides of you mouth aren’t you?

    • afro knight

      i don’t understand all these JW who leave and then want to write posts, if you want to leave then by all means just leave. JW are the fastes growing religious group in america if not the world. there will be somebody else to take your seat shortly if not sooner!

  • Nancy

    This girls actions are wrong in every level, that was a life taken. No matter your fears you face the reality, even if that means diappointment to your parents or God.

    Growing up myself as a JW I have to disagree with Queen Mommy. You have said both accurate and inaccurate information. The JW beliefs are 100% based from the bible, which we believe is God’s word to us. We in no way try to deprieve anyone for his or her own choices but instead do try to teach a good way of life. To disfellowship is not to try to belittle one or try to humiliate but instead to try to correct ones ways. Without discipline we would continue doing what is wrong. Just as we correct our children when they misbehave. It is also a form of keeping the congregation clean. No one is ever thrown out or mistreated.This girl was ashamed to confront her parents for fear of disappointment, naturally as most young women out of wedlock would fear JW or not. As JW’s we are taught to forgive, her parents would have forgiven her for breaking the bibles rules after the initial shock. We are taught if Jehovah our God forgives us then we too must forgive.
    Silly me, we can accept birthday, christmas gifts if we want and if our conceince permits it, we aren’t dictated. Personally I would take a gift, I would see as it being a kind gesture. We respect everyones choices and know everyone has his or her right to decide for themselves. We do not celebrate Christmas because we do not believe Christ was born on December 25th. putting together bible facts. Lastly, I have nothing but wonderful fun childhood memories and do not feel deprived from any celebrations. We believe in gifts and parties not just on specific Holidays. There are many misconceptions but if people try to find out why we do or don’t do certain things then we would be understood a little better. It is a very beautiful peaceful & fun enviroment.

    As for this young woman, I can’t help but feel sorry for her bad judgement. If she was made to feel pressured to hide her pregnancy she still should have known better and faced up to it. If she could have tried to resolve things sooner then she wouldn’t be caught up with in all this. Truly hearbreaking.

    • i love my son

      Your comment and reply was really sweet :) I grew up as a JW too. I know diary hand that single mothers DO NOT get ‘shunned out’. In fact its the complete opposite. I had so much support and encouragement from the members of our congregation and everyone loves my son

      • paul

        i do not know where you attend but my wife was litrally WALKED OUT of her kingdom hall by 3 of the older women of the church when she and i messed up and got preg before we got married not only was she walked out of the church but her ENTIRE family disowned her they have not spoken to her in 5 years they refuse to see our daughter they refer to my wife as DEAD they went as far as to hold a fake funeral for her. if your group is not like this then a applaude them and you but they are not the norm of the church. i have another friend who also attended the JW church and told me flat out that if a girl or couple in the chuch makes this sort of mistake that it is actually part of the teaching of the church to disown and excommunicate them from the church

  • yourbiznes

    Based on what I have read here, and not knowing any Jehovah’s Witnesses, I think of this as more of a Jim Jones type cult then a religion. I have long held the belief that religion should be here for the individual, and not the other way around. This only goes to re-enforce my beliefs.

    • brownie

      yourbiznes so you are going to draw your conclusion from a few ignorant comments, you don’t know any JW’s so how could you draw that conclusion??!! One track mind.. When they knock on your door why don’t you listen to them with an open mind?

  • Silly Me

    To Nancy: Thank you for clarifying…I just felt like our friends were or are depriving their children from joyful moments. But, I do have to ask, What do you mean.. “If your consience permits it ?” Why not take the gift and or let your child enjoy it..and when he or she are old enough…let them know why you believe in such religion…I’m not trying to be offensive but to better understand why so many things are no allowed. I know that Christ was born on Dec.25th and my kids know that as well but I still celebrate Christmas and I honestly do not feel guilty at all. Sorry if I sound offensive…it is not my intention.

    • Nancy

      Silly me,
      No offense taken.

      Some JW feel that by taking the gift it is a form of them participating in a celebration they feel is not biblical. Myself its more like just respecting your choices and your desire of giving but everyone feels different.

      My son is 3 years old and I’ve explained things to him as early as possible and with detailed explanations. I will teach him what I believe to be the truth and when he is older he is allowed to decide for himself and choose what he feels best for himself. Just as my mother did with me..

      Personally I make sure to have wrapped gifts for my son for no specific date or reason. My girlfriends and I plan kid party a few times a year and make sure to not make them feel they are missing out on anything.

      Our religion isn’t how it is made to seem, like we can’t have fun, parties, drinking -the key is moderation & using good judgement. And yes we can dance too, unlike may claim differently.

      I hope I answered your question.

    • afro knight

      it’s not offensive you made a choice based upon accurate knowledge. you know for a fact Christ was not born on the 25th of december. you know for a fact that Jesus said to celebrate not his birth but his death. but you choose to go oppiste of what the bible teaches. that is what free will is, your choice.

  • iain

    No, TJensen, you are really complicating things. The word “religion” is from the Latin word “religere” which means simply to reconnect, as in re-joining the links of a broken chain.

    • T. JENSEN

      we fundamentally agree in our deffinition>> to me RELIGION is when some group tell you how you have to belive and that if you do not do things the way they do your can not be part of their group.. i am non denom meaning i dont tie with any set group I.E. baptist, methodist, luthren and so on. each has its own rules and belifes some of which i agree with some i dont. so if i DONT agree with them then many of them would not allow me to FELLOWSHIP with in their groups. i prefer to attend a church that does not have a “name” on the sign such as those churches do. i prefer to go where they read the bible and teach what it says and only what it says and where they leave OPINIONS out of it. you state religion is like a CHAIN and it is RECONNECTING the broken parts OK I BUY THAT my feeling is i dont want to be hooked to a chain i only want to be hooked to GOD

  • I'm serious.

    ive seen this “religion” first hand. My opinion is that I would not recommend it AT ALL. In fact, i would discourage it. They only befriend their own kind, all of their activities are with each other …EVERYTHING is done with religion involved…picnics and all activities. 4-5 days aweek are involved with the King. Hall activities or bible studies or going door to door. What i saw were gossipy people, only interested in what everybody eles business was, who they were dating, what were they were doing and who they are going to marry asap. They try to say they are religious and not involved in “worldly things” and superior, but I saw ALOT of cattyness, big eyes looking around & turing people in to “elders” . I saw alot of unreligious + uncaring behavior and hope I never see any of those people again. It turned me off of religion but not GOD. They couldn’t destroy that. Trust me, keep your door closed…thanks 4 reading this.

  • Pat

    Jesus is the King of Kings and the lord of Lords………This might offend ALL JWs

  • Christina

    I grew up in jehovahs witness. and for ah couple of month i have been having my bible study. i am very pround to say and talk bout jehovah. People tell lies bout J W and dis like them and guess what people of the world dis like his son.

  • Caring2

    Years ago, a JW girl ran away, and came back pregnant. Her “Elder” father was removed from a position in the congregation, adding to family depression. She came to meetings for about a year but no one could talk to her, even say hello, for about a year, because of JW very strong “shunning” policy. The JW organization calls that “love??” This treatment doesn’t help people in problems, but often causes only long-term problems.

  • Citamos

    Question for the JW’s reading these posts:

    How do YOU know when the Watchtower Society is speaking for God… and when they aren’t?

    • afro knight

      oh..i see what you did there…you asked a non question. trying to put doubt in our minds. let me try…if a tree falls in the wood,and no one is around to hear it fall does it still make a noise? but, the problem is when you ask questions like that you really miss out on the more important question. which is “why did the tree fall in the first place”!

  • Dough

    Please, close your door to these people, they are a destructive cult. I was born in it. I know what I’m talking about.

  • Will

    It is a cult, you can see by some of the language used by posters above, although not obvious to a Witness that is still under the influence of “God’s Organization”, it is evident when one wakes up from the mind control. I was an elder, I woke up by accident through prayer and Bible study when serving as a pioneer recently … it is a very traumatic thing to experience …. here are samples from above showing the loaded language used by JW’s ….
    “you sound like an apostate”
    “shouldn’t let that turn you against Jehovah and tell lies about HIS people”
    “see how glad you are going to be when Armegeddon comes”
    “Satan has truly blinded your mind”
    “bashing true Christians that simply follow the Bible” (when JW’s use the term “true Christians”, and it is used frequently, it applies to faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses only, anyone else claiming to be a Christian would not be a “true Christian”
    …. Nancy’s comments above, either she is using what the Watchtower classifies as “Theocratic Warfare Strategy” or she truly is a moderate person, however, this is not the way of the organization and Nancy actually could be considered an apostate by the Organization if she were to promote her moderate beliefs to other JW’s.

    • afro knight

      i always find it funny. people will give their allegiance to what ever country their from even to the point of killing,dying for it. but there called heros or patriots. but a person wants to give their loyalty to the bible live by Jehovahs standards. and they called a cult…go figure!

  • Erin

    The Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses have been known to hide pedophiles from authorities. They say that there must be 2 witnesses to the abuse of a child–or it doesn’t count. My sister is a JW, I was raised partly as one, until I thankfully saw the light at age 16/17. My sister’s BIL molested a few girls in the congregation and they had the gall to say that the fault was on the molester’s wife for not fulfilling her “wifely duties” with him. They also said that they weren’t going to punish him too much because at least he wasn’t molesting little boys because they said that would “mean that he was gay.” Women are told that if they are raped and they don’t scream loud enough or fight off their attacker in the JW approved method, the rape victims are guilty of fornication. There is Watchtower literature stating that the mothers are at fault for turning men into rapists, as also sexy actresses contribute to the number of rapes.
    While I agree that people should try to fight off an attacker, they should do it to save themselves from being attacked–not just so that they “remain clean in the eyes of God”.
    Furthermore, JWs love to bloviate about how they were persecuted by Hitler, which indeed was terrible, but they fail to mention the letter they wrote to him stating that Hitler shouldn’t persecute JWs because they also hate the Jews. They go on to mention how they are totally cool with Hitler starving, killing, performing medical experiments on the Jews, but don’t do it to JWs. The reason why Hitler decided to include JWs in his destruction is because the Jehovah’s Witnesses suggested that Hitler expand his path of murder to include Catholics.
    JWs do not preach right from the bible–and if they did, it would never excuse their horrible actions.

    • afro knight

      This statement is full of fairy tales and false hoods. you should write for hollywood. you should add a few magical dragons and vampires to your story!

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