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Father pleads no contest to 2016 church drowning of daughter

Gerardo Mendoza pleaded no contest on Wednesday to manslaughter for drowning his 4-year-old daughter at a church in Northern California.
Credit: New Africa - stock.adobe.com
Yellow law enforcement tape isolating crime scene. Blurred view of city street, toned in red and blue police car lights

CALIFORNIA, USA — Authorities say a Northern California man has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter charges in the drowning of his 4-year-old daughter in the baptismal pool of a Catholic church. 

Officials say Gerardo Mendoza had been smoking methamphetamine for days and thought his two youngest children were being attacked by evil. 

He took them to Healdsburg’s St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on Nov. 20, 2016, in search of a priest. Court documents show that when he couldn't find one, he led his daughter Maria into a cross-shaped baptismal pool at least a foot deep.

The Press Democrat reports Mendoza entered his plea Wednesday. He faces 11 years in prison.

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