Mother Pleads Not Guilty In Death Of Boy, 11, Found In Closet

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — The mother of a severely malnourished 11-year-old boy found dead in a closet has pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles to charges of murder and child abuse.

Veronica Aguilar remains jailed on $2 million bail after entering her pleas Thursday.

The 39-year-old is due back in court Oct. 20, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for her to stand trial.

“All I can say is it’s always tragic when a child dies, but she’s innocent until proven guilty,” Aguilar’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Lawrence Tripp, told reporters outside court.

He noted that his client had been brought into the courtroom wearing “what the sheriffs call a suicide smock.”

“It’s a garment that they put people in where they’re concerned about them harming themselves,” Tripp said. “For whatever reasons, the sheriff’s department decided that there was some sort of danger and that’s all. But as far as I know, no psychological or psychiatric evaluation of her has been done of her at this point.”

Yonatan Aguilar’s family had been the subject of six prior reports to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

A report filed by his school to the police in 2009 suggested he may have been physically abused.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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