Thursday, July 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Witness: CPS alerted before girl’s drowning death

By
From page A1 | May 18, 2014 |

WOODLAND — About a month before she allegedly drowned her daughter, Aquelin Talamantes walked into a Sacramento hospital seeking treatment for mental-health issues.

Accompanied by her two young children, Talamantes’ demeanor raised red flags among hospital staff, who in turn issued a referral to Child Protective Services.

“There was concern about her detachment from her children,” CPS social worker Carmen Mercado testified Friday in Yolo Superior Court, at the close of Talamantes’ first week of trial on murder and child-assault charges. “She was not responsive to her children.”

But attempts to make contact with Talamantes in the following days — first at the Sacramento apartment she shared with her kids, and later at a relative’s residence — were unsuccessful, said Mercado, who did not interview Talamantes until the night of Sept. 26, 2013.

By then, Talamantes was in the custody of Sacramento police, who earlier that day discovered the body of 5-year-old Tatiana Garcia in the trunk of Talamantes’ car. Authorities say Talamantes drowned her daughter in the bathtub of her sister’s Glide Drive home in Davis before transporting the body to another sister’s Pocket Road apartment complex.

At the police station, Talamantes at first appeared upset and “very vocal,” but when Mercado questioned her, “it was as if nothing was wrong,” the social worker said. “She had no problem deciphering my questions.”

Talamantes, 29, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in connection with her alleged actions, which defense attorney Sally Fredericksen stemmed from a traumatic childhood that included graphic molestation by a relative and the violent murder of her own mother when Talamantes was 11 years old.

The case’s prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens, contends Talamantes acted out of resentment for her young children — including Tatiana’s younger brother Michael, 4 — and has fabricated her symptoms of mental illness.

Other witnesses Friday included Rachel Powe, manager of the Land Park Woods apartment complex in Sacramento, where Talamantes lived with her children until early September 2013.

Powe said Talamantes demonstrated no odd behavior when she moved into the complex, but later lodged frequent complaints about other residents and refused to allow workers into her apartment for inspections. Once, Talamantes called the police “on herself,” Powe said.

Still, Talamantes’ children seemed “very happy,” said Powe, who often saw the siblings playing on the property.

“I never saw her raise her voice to them or hit them. I would assume she was a good mom,” Powe said, though she acknowledged she never interacted with Talamantes beyond their manager-tenant relationship.

Talamantes moved out of the apartment complex on Sept. 6, but Powe saw her several more times when the former tenant returned to inquire about a security deposit refund. Their last contact was on the afternoon of Sept. 26.

Powe said Talamantes again showed up to ask about her refund, which Powe said had been sent to her via mail. At that point, “she stormed out. It was very brief, very fast.”

It was about an hour later that Talamantes arrived at her sister’s apartment complex in her black Honda Accord, where police and relatives opened the trunk to discover Tatiana’s damp, lifeless body wrapped in a blanket inside a plastic trash bag.

The next day, when someone informed Powe about the discovery of Tatiana’s body in the trunk of Talamantes’ car, “my exact words were, ‘I just saw her yesterday.’ ”

Testimony in the case resumes Monday in Judge Stephen Mock’s courtroom.

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • June 02, 2014 - 4:03 pm

    Of course Carmen Mercado would say that. She didn't do her job so she is covering her poor work performance. P.S. good follow-up, you must have had something to return to Marshall's on your 1.5 hour lunch break.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Ag officials predict bumper almond crop

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Teens lead the way in fight against cancer

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Victim of fatal crash identified

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Official: Air Algerie flight ‘probably crashed’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    New-home sales plummet in June

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    CSU pumps brakes on enrollment growth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Diplomas all around for professor and sons

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Consumption guidelines for Cache Creek fish updated

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

     
    Local singer/songwriter will perform Friday on KDRT

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Davis Flea hosts night market Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Free technology help offered to seniors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Contestants sought for Yolo County Fair Queen contest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Parents can learn all about IEPs

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Museum sells market bags as fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    City of Davis recruits for its advisory commissions

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Colleges woo Native Americans with new programs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Zip Book: Request it, read it, return it

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    Battle lines are drawn

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Don’t tell me I can’t help him

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Water trains through Davis

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

     
    Water storage must be a priority

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Act now to support middle school students

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    UCD coach has navigated a Maze of experiences

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lethargic and roster-thin, Post 77 loses Area 1 opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Pence outscores Phillies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Quincy Amarikwa: years in the making

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Area sports briefs: Nelson earns All-Academic honors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Youth roundup: Aftershock finishes second in tournament

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    Majka makes winning look easy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Transportation fellowship goes to Aggie

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Arts

     
    ‘South Pacific’ storyline still making waves

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    ‘The Miracle Worker’ auditions set for WOH

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Death notice: James Thomas Feather

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, July 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8