Oceanside mother pleads guilty to murdering toddler

Veronica Rivas

Veronica Rivas

VISTA, Calif. — An Oceanside woman who told police she drowned her 21-month-old son in the bathtub to keep him away from his father┬ápleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder and child abuse.

Veronica Rivas, 30, was arrested following the Sept. 10, 2014, death of her son, Elijah.

Police and paramedics were sent to Rivas’ home in the 300 block of Woodpark Way about 7:45 p.m.

Once there, they tried to resuscitate the child but he died at the scene, according to Oceanside police.

Rivas was found unconscious in another part of the house and was taken to the hospital. Two days later, she was arrested after confessing to the crime.

Rivas told police she wanted to kill her son to protect him from his father, from whom she was estranged and involved in a custody battle, according to court testimony.

The defendant is expected to be sentenced to 21 years to life in prison at a hearing Sept. 16.