Veronica Herrera didn't want to lose custody of her other kids, so when she realized her 2-year-old daughter, Nakita, had died after hitting her head on a heater, she did the unthinkable. Herrera told police she put her little girl's body in a barrel, got some lighter fluid and set it on fire. She had her other children put garbage in the barrel to make sure the fire kept going for at least two days. Herrera claims her kids had no idea their sister's body was inside the barrel, although she admits her 9-year-old son "is a smart kid and might have known."

Herrera, 29, has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, failure to report a death, destroying evidence and three counts of injury to a child. She's scheduled to be sentenced on July 25 and could face up to 40 years in prison.

Read more ¿Qué más?: Crazy dad bakes kids meth-spiked cookies over ugly custody battle

According to court records, little Nakita had been sitting on a potty chair when she jumped off it and hit her head on a heater last August. Instead of getting her medical help immediately, Herrera put the toddler in a play pen and asked her oldest kid to watch her while she took the others to her sister's house. When she returned later that night, she noticed Nakita had a bump on her head and wasn't breathing.

Once she realized the child was dead, she came up with the plan to burn her body because she didn't want to lose her other kids. But a few days later, she couldn't live with the guilt and finally confessed what she'd done to her parents, who drove her to the police station.

The only plausible explanation for Herrera's despicable behavior is that she must suffer from some kind of mental disorder because there's no way any mother in her right mind would do something like this. If what originally happened to Nakita was truly an accident, Herrera had nothing to fear. All she had to do was call 911 to report the emergency. 

Who knows how this horrific incident might have turned out if she'd done that instead...

Image via KTVB

Add Comment Do you think the toddler's death was an accident?
About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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