Community reacts to baby's death in Mecca

Oasis Mobile Park residents recognize woman who allegedly abandoned baby

Community reacts to baby's death after mother allegedly abandoned him

MECCA, Calif. - In the ashes of a burned down home at the Oasis Mobile Home Park in Thermal, we found a charred "Nuevo Comienzo," or "New Beginning" magazine on motherhood.
Flames broke out Sunday and tore through two homes at the park. One of them was abandoned and was where neighbors said Esmeralda Martinez, 34, went for shelter.

Authorities arrested Martinez Monday evening after she gave birth and allegedly abandoned her baby boy at a park next to Mecca Elementary School. Someone found the baby dead that morning, according to police.

The alleged incident was just a day after the fire.

"We would see her there inside that house that burned down," said park resident Jose Organillo. "She would stay there all day in the house sleeping."

Organillo said Tuesday it was strange that he hadn't seen her in several days until he recognized her mugshot on television during our newscast.

Just a few blocks from where Martinez delivered the baby, the Galilee Center provides clothes, food and necessities for families in need.

"I was in shock actually because we are here to support the people," said founder Gloria Gomez.

She said she wished Martinez would've come to them for help.

"I think if she would've come here we could've done something for her and the baby," said Gomez.

The Riverside County coroner has not released autopsy results.

Martinez of is now facing charges of voluntary manslaughter and willful harm to a child. She's set to be arriagned Thursday.

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