A Castroville man pleaded no contest to killing a 10-month-old girl and faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison, the Monterey County District Attorney's Office said Friday.
Witnesses said Jesus Vargas Espinoza, 47, admitted striking Angelle Negron with a belt and his hand while he had custody of her in early February. Negron died of blunt force trauma to her head on Feb. 14, according to a forensic examination.
Espinoza buried her in her diaper bag near a highway underpass in Salinas, prosecutors said. Her body was found by cadaver-sniffing dogs Feb.19.
Negron's family members had reported the girl missing Feb. 16, having last seen her when she was picked up from her grandmother's house by Espinoza, who is believed to be her father. Espinoza said he was taking her to Disneyland.
After Negron's death, Espinoza attempted to escape to Mexico on a bus, prosecutors said, but the FBI intercepted him in Los Angeles. After being flown to Monterey County, he gave information to authorities that led them to Negron's body.
Espinoza is scheduled to be sentenced June 21.