Mother pleads not guilty in death of child found dead in family car

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SAN DIEGO – A young mother pleaded not guilty Monday to felony child abuse for death of her daughter, 21 month old Scarlet Grace Harris, who was found dead in the car parked in the family's driveway last month.

Pricilla Harris, 24, returned to jail after the hearing. The judge set her bail at $1 million.

Police arrested Harris on Thursday. Investigators said that she called 911 on the afternoon of Aug. 5 and said she had just woken up and could not find her 21-month-old daughter, Scarlet Grace Harris, police said. A short time later, Harris called back and said that she had found her daughter in the family car, but the little girl was unresponsive.

Paramedics rushed to the home near Leary and Orleck streets in Tierrasanta and tried to revive the toddler, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Child abuse detectives were called in to investigate the death and their findings were forwarded to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, which issued an arrest warrant for Harris, who was taken into custody by San Diego police last Thursday, according to SDPD Lt. Carole Beason.

In addition to the felony child abuse count, Harris faces sentence- enhancing allegations of causing great bodily injury or death. She's being held in lieu of $1 million bail, and is scheduled to return to court Oct. 2 for a readiness conference.

If convicted as charged, she would face a maximum of 12 years behind bars.

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