STOCKTON (CBS13) — Zulma Chavez-Ventura, who is accused of stomping, kicking and slamming her four-year-old stepdaughter to the ground, appeared in court Wednesday.
The 21-year-old suspect was arrested earlier this week after her stepdaughter, Serenity, died Tuesday at the UC Davis Medical Center from injuries sustained Sunday.
Chavez-Ventura was charged and arraigned on five criminal accounts including one count of murder, one count of assault on a child under 8 years of age causing death, and three counts of child endangerment, one for each surviving child under her care and one count for the deceased child.
She did not enter a plea and was appointed an attorney. Chavez-Ventura remains in custody without bail.
Serenity’s biological mother Malinda Beach spoke out Wednesday about Chavez-Ventura.
“A mother would not ever kill her child, or even lay a finger on her child. That woman was a monster,” Beach said.
The two other children that were under Chavez-Ventura’s care when she allegedly beat Serenity have been placed into protective custody.
The details are quite disturbing, but according to court records and the toddler’s biological mother, the alleged abuse was going on for a while.
Court documents reveal Chavez-Ventura first called the girl’s father, Kevin Carames, and waited for him to get home before calling 9-1-1. They also show that Chavez-Ventura and Carames lied about the four-year-old’s injuries, saying she ran into a ladder attached to a bunk bed. Chavez-Ventura later confessed to causing the injury but said that it was an accident.
Chavez-Ventura will appear in court again Friday for the new appointment of counsel.