A Santa Maria woman faces life in prison after being convicted of torturing her 2-year-old daughter in 2010 by inflicting second- and third-degree burns as a punishment.
Late Wednesday, a Superior Court jury in Santa Maria found Lorena Arenas, 26, guilty of three felonies: torture; corporal injury to a child with the special allegation that she personally inflicted great bodily injury; and child abuse, according to Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens.
Arenas was accused of holding the toddler’s hands under scalding water from a bathroom faucet as punishment after the child got into her makeup, Jebens said.
Despite the severity of the child’s injuries, Arenas waited hours before taking her daughter to Marian Regional Medical Center for treatment, Jebens said.
Doctors there notified police, who arrested Arenas and Jose Gonzalez, the child’s father, on a variety of charges. Arenas and Gonzalez are not married.
“I’m happy that we were able to get justice for this little girl,” Jebens said. “She was 2 years old, and didn’t have the ability to look out for her own welfare. I’m happy that we got justice for her.”
Arenas faces a minimum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole on the torture charge, Jebens said, and will be eligible for parole after serving seven years.
It will be up to Judge Edward Bullard to decide how much additional punishment she will receive for the other charges, Jebens said.
The child, who received treatment at the Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks, was placed in foster care, and is in the process of being adopted, Jebens said.
Gonzalez, 42, who testified against Arenas at her trial, was accused of failing to seek treatment for the injuries to his daughter, Jebens said.
He pleaded no contest in May 2011 to one felony count of child abuse under a plea bargain with prosecutors, and was sentenced to prison.
He has since been released, Jebens said.