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.

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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.

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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.


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