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Woman who killed baby accused of stabbing mom

October 18, 2011

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SAN DIEGO—A woman who killed her baby 25 years ago by throwing her into San Diego Bay was arrested Monday on suspicion of repeatedly stabbing her 86-year-old mother in the face.

Lorenza Delgadillo Penguelly, 51, was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune (

Authorities allege Penguelly stabbed her mother in the face eight times and also cut her arms and hands. The mother was taken to a hospital and is expected to recover.

When Penguelly was 26 years old in 1986, she drowned her 5-month-old daughter by throwing her in the bay.

"She didn't make any cry when I threw her in the water. She floated and moved her little arms," Penguelly said in court, according to the newspaper.

The day before the crime, Penguelly had been seen at the Grape Street Pier trying to give away the infant.

The baby's body was found by a 14-year-old who thought it was a doll.

In that case, Penguelly's lawyers successfully argued that she suffered from a rare psychiatric disorder called postpartum psychosis that can make mothers kill.

Lawyers said Penguelly had begun to slide into the mental illness after her son's birth in 1984.

Rather than face a life sentence for murder charges, Penguelly was sentenced to six years at Patton State Hospital, a state mental hospital.

In the current case, Penguelly was being held without bail and was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday.


Information from: The San Diego Union-Tribune, top stories on Twitter

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