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Charges Filed Against Woman, Daughter In Abandoned Baby Hoax

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LONG BEACH (CBS) — Criminal charges were filed Friday against a woman and her daughter for allegedly concocting a story about finding a baby abandoned at a Long Beach gas station earlier this week.

Paloma Espinosa, 28, gave birth to a baby girl Monday at home and brought the child to her mother, Sonya Hernandez, who told police that she found the newborn Monday night at a USA Gas station at Seventh Street and Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach police Sgt. Rico Fernandez said.

Police were trying to sort out what happened when officers spotted the mother driving around the area of the gas station, Long Beach police spokeswoman Lisa Massacani said.

The younger woman apparently “wanted to protect a relationship she was in,” Fernandez said. He declined to elaborate.

Espinosa was charged with one misdemeanor count of child endangerment and one count of child abandonment, according to the City Prosecutor’s Office.

Hernandez, 52, is charged with one misdemeanor count each of filing a false police report and obstructing police officers in their investigation.

The two could be arraigned next week in Long Beach Superior Court and would each face up to two years in county jail if convicted.

“What these women did is outrageous,” Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert said. “The fact that they lied to police about the identity of the baby and the facts surrounding its birth is shocking enough, but even worse is the fact that these lies jeopardized the health of a newborn child.”

The infant was listed in stable condition at a local hospital, according to the City Prosecutor’s Office.

No charges would have been filed if the newborn had been turned over to a hospital or fire station within 72 hours of birth under California’s “Safe Surrender” law, authorities said.

(©2012 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

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