Newborn in state custody, sibling's death under investigation - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Newborn in state custody, sibling's death under investigation

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By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A South Plains woman, currently under investigation for the death of her newborn last year, gave birth to another child Wednesday. Thursday, the newborn was in the custody of Child Protective Services.  

Belen Valencia, 19, does not face criminal charges at this time. She does, however, face unrelated charges of criminal mischief in Lubbock County.

New information about the investigation comes from a civil case between CPS and Valencia concerning custody of her 4-year-old daughter. In July, Lubbock Police were called to 2009 Avenue L to investigate a report that Valencia discarded a newborn baby in the backyard.  CPS became involved that day.

Under facts necessitating removal of children, in an affidavit filed by a CPS investigator, it states, Valencia allegedly placed the baby in a plastic grocery bag and discarded him in a hole in the back yard that the family dog had previously dug. The affidavit goes on to state that Valencia told a special investigator that she thought the baby was dead, but the court record states a preliminary autopsy performed a day after the child's death concluded the baby was born alive.

The medical examiner's preliminary report concludes the baby was breathing and apparently healthy at birth. It goes on to state that at the time of the autopsy, there was no other indication of natural circumstances identified causing the child's death.

Right now, Valencia's 4-year-old remains in temporary state custody. A trial date is set for August to determine if the state will be granted permanent custody. According to family service plan evaluations, Valencia has completed parenting classes, and had maintained weekly visits with her daughter.

CPS says they received a report Valencia had given birth on Wednesday. A judge granted an emergency removal Thursday. They say they'll keep custody of the newborn pending a judge's decision.  NewsChannel 11 contacted Valencia's attorney Thursday.  She told us she could not comment until she spoke with her client, and had not called us back by Thursday night.

The criminal investigation against Valencia continues. A final autopsy report about what caused the child's death has not yet been released.

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