A Rancho Palos Verdes woman was charged Friday with murder and child neglect in connection with the death of her 2-year-old daughter, whom she allegedly left alone in a car with the heater running in an unincorporated area near Torrance.

Lacey Ana Mazzarella, 34, allegedly left her daughter in a car with the engine and heater running on the evening of Sept. 22 and returned early the next morning to discover that the toddler was dead, according to Deputy District Attorney David Zygielbaum.

Mazzarella went to a friend’s vehicle and drank until she fell asleep, ABC7 reported.

During an appearance in a Compton courtroom, she pleaded not guilty to charges that could carry a potential 15-year-to-life state prison sentence if convicted, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responding to the 22400 block of South Vermont Avenue on Sept. 23 found June Love Augosto unresponsive. The child was later pronounced dead at an area hospital, according to the coroner’s office.

Mazzarella, who was arrested Wednesday night, told a sheriff’s detective that around 11:30 p.m. Sept. 22, she placed Augosto in her car seat and turned up the heat in the car, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

Mazzarella has remained behind bars since her arrest, and is due back in court Oct. 23.

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