CCSO: Mother charged with smothering 17-month-old child

Lorena Castillo (provided)

LADSON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Charleston County Sheriff's deputies say a Ladson woman has been arrested for smothering her 17-month-old child.

CCSO spokesperson James Brady said members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force arrested 21-year-old Lorena Contreras Castillo and charged her with Homicide by Child Abuse.

Castillo was charged with homicide by child abuse. Bond was not set in a hearing on Wednesday.

Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten said her office was able to establish a pattern of behavior with Castillo, which led them to seek the homicide charge.

"He was subsequently worked up for several days and found to be healthy, no one ever documented any problems. With in hours after discharge from the hospital he returned with another incident and this time it was a injury that ended in death," said Wooten.

Brady said Castillo took the child to Medical University Hospital on Aug. 5, telling doctors that the child passes out.

Nurses told police the child was acting normally but admitted the child for observation anyway. The child was discharged three days later into Castillo's care.

Brady says less than six hours after discharge, EMS was called to the Castillo home for reports that the child wasn't breathing. The child was transported to Trident Hospital then to MUSC where the child died on Aug. 13, 2012.

Detectives began the investigation on Aug. 16, 2012 after being notified of the child's death by the Charleston County Coroner's Office.

According to the CCSO, medical information from a pediatric doctor during the investigation led investigators to believe the child's death was due to "an inflicted injury cutting off the oxygen to the child by smothering or similar mechanism, not from an underlying medical condition."

Castillo will face a bond judge later today.