A woman who was arrested in Dalton, Georgia, more than four years ago in the death of her 17-month-old daughter has entered a negotiated guilty plea to the same charges she was convicted of at trial and is expected to be deported to Guatemala.
On New Year's Eve in 2015, Catarina Castro Moran was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of her daughter, who was found dead in bed after an apparent severe illness.
Moran also was charged with cruelty to children in the first degree, identity fraud, and making false statements to law enforcement officers.
Ten months later, a Whitfield County jury found Moran guilty of second-degree murder and she was sentenced to 10 years in prison. In the original trial in October 2016, Whitfield County Superior Court Judge William Boyett had merged the charges of second-degree murder and second-degree cruelty to children for sentencing.
Moran recently sought a retrial, but instead pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced this time to 30 years, with the first four years and eight months in confinement with credit for time served since December 2015.
The rest of her sentence has been "suspended on banishment," District Attorney Bert Poston said.
Poston told the Times Free Press in an email that to his understanding, Moran "has been transferred to Homeland Security for deportation proceedings based upon the conviction."
Officers with the Dalton Police Department responded to a call about a dead child at a home in the 500 block of Whitener Drive at 6 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2015.
Officers performed CPR on the child until paramedics arrived, but the victim had already died.
By the time officers arrived, rigor mortis had begun to set in, leading them to believe the 17-month-old had died sometime the night before.
Moran told investigators that she believed at first the child had fallen ill that Wednesday, but later found her daughter had been severely ill with a high fever since the previous week.
During Moran's trial, the district attorney's office concluded Moran entered the United States illegally in July 2015 from Guatemala. She didn't have insurance at the time and prosecutors claim money was one of the reasons why she never took her child to the hospital.
Contact Patrick Filbin at email@example.com.