LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- A woman on Friday pleaded not guilty to charges related to the death of her 2-year-old daughter, who died after being left alone in a running car overnight while the mother allegedly drank with a friend in West Carson, prosecutors said.
Lacey Mazzarella, 34, of Rancho Palos Verdes, has been charged with one count apiece of murder and child neglect resulting in death, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Mazzarella entered the not guilty plea during an arraignment on Friday afternoon. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 23.
She faces up to 15 years to life in prison if convicted as charged.
Mazzarella was arrested Wednesday, nine days after her daughter's death.
On the morning of Sept. 23, deputies responded to a report of a "baby not breathing" in the 22400 block of South Vermont Avenue, in an unincorporated part of the county, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
They found the child, identified as 2-year-old June Love Agosta, unresponsive. The little girl was taken by paramedics to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Mazzarella told investigators she put her daughter in a parked car at about 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 22. She said she left the heater on and placed a blanket on the child's lap so she wouldn't get cold, according to a report from the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
The defendant told officials she got into a nearby vehicle where she drank alcohol with a friend and eventually fell asleep, the report read.
When she awoke around 5 a.m., Mazzarella checked on Agosta and found the toddler unresponsive, with vomit on her shirt and car seat, according to the coroner's report. She said her daughter's body felt really hot "with skin coming off her back," the report stated.