State Supreme Court to hear George Gascon's appeal of sentencing power dispute. Photo courtesy of Sadmir Kanovicki on Pexels

The mother, grandmother and aunt of a 5-year-old boy who died in Coachella pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murder and abuse against other children.

Vanessa Cervantes Rangel, 37, Hilaria Rangel, 55, and Miriam Silva, 38, were charged Friday with one felony count of murder in the boy’s death and with a misdemeanor count of abuse endangering an 11-year-old boy, according to court records. Vanessa Rangel was additionally charged with two felony counts, one each of assault on a child under 8 resulting in death, and torture.

According to court records, the Rangels were also charged with three additional misdemeanor counts of abuse endangering a child, involving a 13-year-old girl, a 6-year-old girl, and a 9-year-old boy. The relationships with the other children were not disclosed.

The Rangels and Silva pleaded not guilty to all charges at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on Wednesday morning. They’re due back in court on Oct. 3 for a felony settlement conference.

Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Thermal station responded to the 50400 block of South Kenmore Street at about 7:50 p.m. on Sept. 8 to administer juvenile medical aid, according to Sgt. Ben Ramirez of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Ramirez said the deputies were directed to a 5-year-old who was not breathing. Despite efforts from the deputies and Cal Fire medics, the child died at the scene. A cause of death has not been released.

On Sept. 13, sheriff’s investigators searched a residence in the 51500 block of Date Street and arrested the deceased child’s mother, Vanessa Rangel, according to Ramirez. The child’s grandmother, Hilaria Rangel, was identified as a second suspect and arrested at a separate location in Coachella, he said.

Silva surrendered at the Thermal sheriff’s station at around 7 p.m. Thursday, according to Ramirez.

Vanessa and Silva were booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside and Hilaria was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning. They were all being held on $1 million bail.

The investigation was ongoing, and anyone with relevant information was asked to call Investigator Lopez from the Thermal station at 760-863-8990 or Investigator Alfaro with the Central Homicide Unit at 760-393-3528.

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