2012 death of baby raises suspicion, mother charged in new death

SAN BENITO — This isn’t the first time a child in the care of Amber Marie G. Molano has died.

On Tuesday, the 20-year-old San Benito woman was arrested in connection with the apparent drowning death of her infant son.

In the days leading up to her arrest, police discovered that in 2012, Molano had a baby that also died in infancy.

Interim Police Chief Michael Galvan said that was cause for concern.

“We reviewed it with the district attorney’s office and once they saw that, they requested we get a warrant for her arrest,” he said.

Molano was arrested Tuesday after she turned herself in.

She is being charged with a first-degree felony for injury to a child causing death.

The charge stems from the March 31 drowning incident. According to police, she left her 7-month-old son Traviz Luke and a 2-year-old unattended in the bathtub at her Vista Park Apartment on Cornejo Drive.

When she came back, Traviz was laying face up and not breathing. He was transported to the Valley Baptist Medical Center and placed on life support.

He was removed from life support after five days and died shortly thereafter.

Galvan could not confirm whether her baby died suspiciously in 2012 but did say they were looking into it.

“Child protective services has that case and the district attorney’s office will subpoena those records,” Galvan said.

Galvan also said there were several posts on Molano’s Facebook page he considered questionable.

According to police, Molano admitted to leaving the children alone in the bathtub for about a minute.

“Since she was negligent and by admitting it she was arrested,” Galvan said.

The baby showed no brain activity after being taken off life-support, Galvan said.

After the investigation, police turned their findings over to the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.

With their assistance, the warrant for Molano’s arrest was obtained.

She was arraigned Tuesday by Justice of the Peace David Garza, who set her bond at $25,000.

Molano is being held at the Cameron County jail in Olmito.

If found guilty, she could face up to 99 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.