PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – A Porterville woman was sentenced to suspended jail and community service for allowing alcohol at an underage party that resulted in the death of a sleeping 13-year-old girl, according to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office.
On Halloween night, October 31, 2020, officials say 57-year-old Juana Elias, allowed her 19-year-old daughter to host a birthday/Halloween party for her boyfriend at their house, adding a flyer for the party advertised emojis commonly associated with drugs and alcohol.
At the outdoor party, officials say beer and whiskey were plentiful and unsupervised.
Alexis Tapia, a 19-year-old guest, was seen consuming multiple whiskey drinks and at approximately 3:45 a.m., Tapia left the party intoxicated in his truck.
While driving through a residential Porterville neighborhood, officials say Tapia missed a turn and drove into an apartment complex at 60 miles per hour, crashing into the bedroom of a sleeping 13-year-old girl.
The victim was pulled from the rubble and later died at a local hospital.
Tapia’s blood alcohol content was .18% and he is currently serving a 15-year state prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2023 to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury or death, and hit and run driving resulting in death.
On July 31, 2023, Elias pleaded to a misdemeanor violation for being a social host allowing a person under 21 to consume alcohol. At sentencing, prosecutors argued for the crime’s maximum sentence of 6 months in jail but the court ultimately sentenced the defendant to 120 days in jail suspended and 80 hours of community service.
The 13-year-old girl who was killed was identified as Cambria Sots. Her cousin described her as someone with “a smile that could light up any room.”