Joileen Garcia
  - January 6, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial

On January 8, 2013, a call came into the Police stating that a child was having a seizure after she had eaten Chili Powder. Police responded to the home of Amanda and her boyfriend (I can't find his name anywhere) at around 4:16 p.m., at that time two year old Joileen Garcia was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead. Amanda lived in the home with her boyfriend and several other children.

Neighbors said that there were problems in the home:

"They fight like crazy. I went over there one day to help with the car. She came out asking when he was
going to get done so they could get the kids from school. He just flew off the handle and smacked the
dog out of her"

Another neighbor said that children were hardly ever there, they would just come and go, though he did think that the children ranged in age from a toddler to grade school, with the adults appearing to be in their 20s. That same neighbor said he saw firebricks come to the home that day:

"I did see a little body being carried out and I didn't know what it was but I didn't want to be rude
and go over and starting butting in, asking questions"

Another neighbor said she would give them the benefit of the doubt because she couldn't imagine a parent purposely doing something to a young child. WAKE UP PATRICIA A., parents do this and MUCH worse young children EVERY day, where do you live, under a fricken rock?

Amanda Sorensen, who was 21 years old at the time, was detained and questioned and then later arrested on charges of child abuse resulting in death:

"She is the victims, fathers, girlfriend. She is being is being held for child abuse resulting
in death, $500,000. bail"
Jodi Miller - Sheriff's Spokeswoman

It was thought at the time that Amanda had forced Joileen to eat the Chili Powder as punishment, though it wasn't stated for what. On January 10, 2013 Amanda plead not guilty after part of the complaint said that she acted with "malice and aforethought" when giving Joileen the Chili Powder that killed her. The judge in the case entered her plea and assigned her a public defender.

George Thompson, who was a retired Chief Deputy Public Defender said that he read the complain and it sounded like they had a second degree charge instead of a first degree, with second degree meaning that she didn't MEAN to kill Joileen, she had not premeditated killing her:

"It sounds like she gave the kid Chili Powder. Maybe she was trying to punish her, I don't know.
That's my best guess"

Why is it that defense lawyers always sound so much like they don't care about the victim and are rooting for the offender?

In the complaint it was stated that Amanda had care and custody of Joileen at the time of her death. Joileen's family was planning a fund raiser to help pay for burial costs. Christina Laliberte, who is Joileen's aunt, said that they were planning a car wash and a bowling tournament within the next two weeks:

"Right now, the family is trying to gather as much community support as possible after what happened.
Any community support is appreciated, whether donations or even keeping us in your prayers"

The Phoenix Foundation, a local non-profit organization had plans to help raise money for Joileen's expense.

An autopsy listed the cause of death as seizure which was most likely brought on by asphyxiation with the Chili Powder. It was believed that the Chili Powder caused Joileen's airway to swell, inhibiting her ability to breath.

Manuel Lopez said that he had helped to raise Joileen for the first 1 1/2 years of her life and he considered himself to be her father:

"Early in the morning she would always jump in bed with us. She went with us everywhere. Bright kid,
smart, intelligent, running around. She's just really smart. Loved animals and horses"

Joileen's family on her fathers side didn't want to comment on the case and Manuel didn't want to discuss the facts of the case though he did say that Joileen's biological mother was devastated and like any other parent would be, she was broken down.

In January of 2012, the trial for Amanda Dawn Sorenson was delayed:

"We are ready. The defense was not ready and asked for a continuance"
Kathleen DiDonato - District Attorney

A court hearing was set for March 27.

Site Creators Note: As of today's date, June 10, 2014, I am unable to find the names of Joileen's birth parents or if Amanda has been to court to pay for what happened to this little Angel.

UPDATE: August 4, 2014

In January of 2103, Amanda Sorenson, who was 21 years old at the time, was in court and plead not guilty to charges of murder and assault and was being held on a bond of $1 million dollars. Amanda was facing 25 years to life if she was convicted.

Thank you goes to Samantha for sending me this update.

UPDATE: January 8, 2017 - A big thank you to Kami for sending me this update

In November of 2014 23 year old Amanda Sorenson entered a plea of guilty to second degree murder. Amanda's plea was part of a deal that would allow the charge of first degree murder to be dropped. Reports say that the case never made it to court and that will keep many of the details of the death of Joileen from being revealed. Deputy Public Defender David Sanders said that Amanda was a young girl who was trying to do her very best:

"If you look at the facts of this case, this was absolutely involuntary
manslaughter. There was never any intent to kill"

Amanda had stated that it was routine for her and her boyfriend to punish the three children in the home by putting hot sauce in their mouths:

"One day, Joileen was acting up and everything and my client
couldn't find any hot sauce. So she found chili powder and put
it in her mouth"

When Joileen tried to spit it out, Sorenson cupped her hand over the toddlers mouth having no idea it would kill her:

"Everybody will tell you that my client loved that little girl. It's a
sad case, very sad case"

In January of 2016, a sentencing hearing took place in which several people were wearing t-shirts in support of Joileen. Amanda was 24 years old at the time that she was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for killing Joileen. Amanda appeared in a green jumpsuit, which reports say meant she was in protective custody. Amanda would not look at anyone who spoke during the hearing, however, that didn't stop any of them from making victim impact statements:

"Just two short years ago, my daughter was tragically taken from
me by woman who sits in this courtroom. Joileen brought joy and
smiles to everyone in her  presence. In my mind, no amount of
time will ever be enough for her actions. I will have suffered more
than Amanda ever could"
Brenda Lopez

Brenda stated that Joileen would have been turning five years old in just a few weeks. Joileen's grandmother spoke:

"You are pathetic. You did nothing but try to cover up. You took away
a sweet, innocent child. You may not look at me, but you will hear me"
Lillian garcia

Lillian told Amanda that she hoped she would think about Joileen all the time and she told her that she should seek anger management.

This page was created on May 23, 2104
Death occurred in the state of California

If you do not like what you see printed on this page, please see my DISCLAIMER statement. THANK YOU!

For information about how to report child abuse, please click the link below and you will be taken to a page that has an alphabetical, state by state listing of how to report child abuse for which state you are looking for and for some other countries.

Visit my child abuse quilt to see other places about preventing child abuse.

This page will open up in a new window so you won't lose your place while
visiting the Angels on my site.

Call this number to report child abuse ANY WHERE in the United States!
1-800-4-A-Child  1-800-422-4453

Child Abuse Intro
Child Abuse Links 1
It Is A Human Life

7 Steps To Prevention
Child Abuse Links 2
Child Abuse Poetry
Child Abuse Songs
Report Abuse
Child Abuse Links 3
Child Abuse Quilt