Oceanside mother who drowned toddler in bathtub sentenced

VISTA, Calif. -- An Oceanside woman who told police she drowned her 21-month-old son in a bathtub to keep him away from his father was sentenced Friday to 21 years to life in state prison.

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

She pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder and child abuse and agreed to the stipulated sentence.

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, with whom she was involved in a custody battle, according to court testimony.