The 5-year-old Davis girl whose lifeless body was found in the trunk of her mother’s car five weeks ago died as a result of drowning, Sacramento County coroner’s officials announced Friday.
Tatiana Alexia Rose Garcia’s manner of death was listed as homicide within a day of her Sept. 26 discovery at a Sacramento apartment complex. The girl’s mother, 29-year-old Aquelin Crystal Talamantes, has since been charged with murder and assault on a child causing death.
Additional details, such as where and how the drowning occurred, were not disclosed. Davis police said they would not be releasing any further information beyond the coroner’s findings.
“This comes from a need to preserve the integrity of the investigation so as to ensure a successful prosecution,” Lt. Glenn Glasgow said.
Talamantes, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder and assault counts, is due back in court Nov. 14 for a preliminary hearing. The attorneys assigned to the case, Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens and Supervising Deputy Public Defender Sally Fredericksen, could not be reached for comment Friday.
Investigators say Talamantes, formerly of Dixon, had been living at her sister’s Glide Drive home for several weeks when she arrived at her relative’s apartment with her young son. Her daughter nowhere in sight, prompting alarmed family members to contact police.
Tatiana’s body was discovered in the trunk of Talamantes’ car shortly after 2:30 p.m. Police and bystanders attempted lifesaving efforts on the girl, but were unsuccessful.
Davis police took over the investigation after receiving information that the alleged assault had occurred at the family’s South Davis residence.
Following Talamantes’ arrest, Lt. Paul Doroshov disclosed that local authorities had made contact with her earlier in the day after a patrol officer made a traffic stop near the Glide Drive house. Talamantes flagged down the officer and acted “erratically,” Doroshov said, prompting officers to conduct a welfare check inside the house.
The officers spoke with both Talamantes and her sister, clearing the scene after detecting no signs of abuse or neglect, according to Doroshov. Two children — presumably Tatiana and her younger brother — were seen laughing and playing on a couch.
A solicitor going door-to-door in the neighborhood that same day told The Enterprise that he encountered Talamantes at about noon, and that she appeared disoriented and confused as he spoke with her. A little boy stood by her side, Ben Taber recalled, but he never saw a girl.
Taber said he passed by the house twice more that afternoon. The first time, he saw officers who appeared to be searching for something. The second time, yellow crime-scene tape surrounded the yard.
Yolo Superior Court records outline a bitter custody battle between Talamantes and the children’s father, Oracio Garcia, in which both parents traded allegations of child abuse and domestic violence. Talamantes was awarded full custody of the children in July 2012.
She is being held without bail at the Yolo County Jail.
— Reach Lauren Keene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene