What is the difference between misdemeanors and felonies in Arizona?

A Glendale mother is accused of smothering her 5-month-old infant to death with a comforter, according to authorities.

Amber Sagarnaga, 23, was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of second-degree murder in the baby’s death.

Police say Sagarnaga admitted to placing a heavy comforter over the crying baby and pressing down on the infant’s face as she laid in a pack-and-play crib.

Officers at the scene described Sagarnaga as “lacking emotion” while her fiance was “on the phone with 911 in a panic doing CPR,” Glendale police said in court records.

The man had told a 911 dispatcher that his fiancee “smothered their 5-month-old,” who was still not breathing by the time officers arrived to the apartment near Bethany Home Road and 67th Avenue at about 9:20 p.m. Friday.

Police say the father initially attempted CPR on the baby but stopped and ordered Sagarnaga to clean up the apartment because he didn’t want the Department of Child Safety to take their children away, according to court records. He called 911 using a neighbor’s phone about two minutes later, police said.

DCS has since taken custody of the couples’ children, ages 1 and 2 years.

Arriving officers found the father performing CPR and took over until the Glendale Fire Department arrived and took the infant to a nearby hospital. The baby was pronounced dead an hour later, said Tiffany Smith, a Glendale Police Department spokeswoman.

Police said it appeared that the baby had been neglected, as she wore a “soiled diaper, which appeared to have been on for more than a day,” and had a severe case of diaper rash. Police said a full autopsy would be performed on the infant.

Just two days prior to baby’s death, police were called to the home on reports that Sagarnaga “struck the infant with a bottle, causing a laceration on the lip,” court records show.

Sagarnaga told officers she has battled depression her entire life but that it’s worsened since she began having children, police said. Her fiance told police she self-medicates with marijuana.

In a statement made to detectives, police said Sagarnaga told them she “never felt close to the infant and was going to give her up for adoption at birth but couldn’t.” She also admitted to police that “she thought about killing herself and the three children while her fiance was not around because she couldn’t take it anymore,” records show.

Sagarnaga told police the baby was still crying after she stopped pressing the comforter into the infant’s face, and so she fell asleep on her bed with her other two children, ages 1 and 2. She woke three hours later to find the baby awake and taking shallow breaths. Within half an hour, the baby would stop breathing.

Sagarnaga is being held in a Maricopa County jail on a $500,000 bond. Her next court date is set for June 16.


Burned, bruised boy has died; his mother, her boyfriend facing murder charge

Phoenix woman faces trial in death of girl who was locked in a box

Police: Surprise toddler dead from head injuries

Parents of killed 9-year-old Landen Lavarnia plead not guilty

Read or Share this story: