Grandma of 4-year-old homicide victim says aunt who allegedly suffocated child has mental issues

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A developing story in the South Valley on a four-year-old girl named Sophia Caraveo who police say was suffocated in Porterville. Her aunt, Santa Cristina Pablo is now a murder suspect and under arrest. It happened at a home on South G Street.

Pablo is currently behind bars at a Tulare County detention facility. Her mother says she’s shocked at the allegations and says her family is crushed after losing their baby girl.

“She was wonderful, happy. She was stubborn sometimes. She always got what she wanted because she was the princess,” said Dora Pablo.

Pablo clutched a picture frame with photos of her four-year-old grandaughter Sophia Cavareo. Early Tuesday morning, Porterville Police responded to a call on a child who couldn’t breathe. Officers got to this home on South G Street and Orange Avenue where little Sophia was unresponsive. Medics tried CPR but the little girl did not survive.

After interviewing each family member, detectives arrested the child’s aunt as a suspect. Police say Santa Pablo intentionally suffocated Sophia to death.

“Based off of all the information, the interviews and the crime scene that was conducted by the homicide detectives, all the evidence at the time tended to show that it was intentional at the hands of the aunt,” said Porterville Police Captain Jake Castellow.

Dora says her grandaughter is from Lindsay and often stayed at her home. She says the suspect was like another mom to Sophia but is dealing with mental issues.

“We’ve tried to get her into mental health. Unfortunately, the mental system said you have to come this date and another date so we couldn’t get the proper help she needed. So please don’t judge if you don’t know what’s actually going on,” said Dora.

Authorities continue to investigate a motive for the homicide. Dora says she is trying to stay strong for her family now that her princess is gone.

“She will be loved. She will be missed and she will always be in our hearts,” said Dora.

As Pablo waits to be charged by the Office of the Tulare County District Attorney, the family says they need help putting Sophia to rest. 

Here is the link to the GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/sophia-mae-funeral-donations

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