California mom killed baby by suffocating her during breastfeeding, authorities say

A California mother has been charged with the death of one of her 7-month-old twin daughters by suffocating her with her breast while trying to feed her.

Celina Juarez faces a murder charge in the death of her baby, Melani, as well as the child endangerment of her twin sister, Zari, on Nov. 4 at their home in San Jose, Fox San Francisco reported. 

Officers were dispatched to the home amid reports that Melani wasn’t breathing and her sister was unconscious. Both were rushed to a local hospital.



Juarez told authorities her husband left for work that morning, and she took her 2-year-old son and baby girls to church until noon. When they returned, Juarez’s mother took the boy to run errands. She was left with the twins, who were sick and “fussy,” she allegedly said. 

The girls were crying and Juarez said she usually feeds them using a bottle but wanted to breastfeed them to give them the proper nutrients. 

She purposefully held her breast against the girls’ mouths because she was frustrated they wouldn’t latch on, Juarez allegedly told authorities. She believes Melani was against her breast for 10 minutes before placing her unconscious body on the bed.

She then placed Zari against her breast “without letting her come up for air,” police said. Juarez allegedly waited 20 minutes before calling her mother. They performed CPR on the babies and her brother called 911.

Melani died two days later. Juarez is being held and is expected to enter a plea next month. 

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