Mother of Baby Found Dead in Homestead Freezer Pleads Not Guilty

The mother of a baby found dead in a freezer in Homestead pleaded not guilty Thursday.

Paola Vargas-Ortiz pleaded not guilty to manslaughter through her attorney at her arraignment. Prosecutors believe she killed her four-month-old son, Hugo Alvarez-Vargas, by stuffing him in a freezer.

Detectives said Vargas-Ortiz called 911 saying she was going to kill herself by jumping off a bridge. Officers found her by tracking the GPS in her cellphone. Vargas-Ortiz told officers she had eaten rat poison and threw her baby off the bridge.

Her story then changed to the child being in the freezer of her Homestead home. Police arrested Vargas-Ortiz when they found the dead child in the freezer.

Last month during her bond hearing, attorneys talked in detail about her mental health condition.

"Her mental health must be in serious flux and she needs to be supervised 24-7, as far as I'm concerned," the prosecutor said.

Vargas-Ortiz did not have to post bond after being released from Jackson Memorial Hospital's psychiatric unit. Instead, the judge let her go home under house arrest wearing a GPS ankle monitor, pending her trial. 

Vargas-Ortiz faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the manslaughter charge for killing her son. Her trial is scheduled to start in June.

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