Three young children die in house fire

The Associated Press
Tuesday January 08, 2002

STOCKTON — The bodies of three young children left alone in a Stockton home were discovered after the the single-story house went up in flames. 

The bodies of Javier Sanchez, 7, Annette Sanchez, 5, and Francis Sanchez, 3, were found after the flames were extinguished early Sunday. Preliminary reports indicated the children succumbed to smoke inhalation, officials said. 

Neighbors said the children’s mother, Maria Aguilar, 24, left the house with her boyfriend Saturday afternoon. 

The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office will determine whether criminal charges will be filed against Aguilar, authorities said. 

It was the second such tragedy in a week for the area. 

In Bakersfield, two children ages 6 and 3 died in an apartment fire on New Year’s Eve after their mother allegedly left them home alone while she went out with friends. 

The children’s mother, Jodi Ranae Saldana, 26, pleaded innocent to two counts of felony child endangerment and two counts of involuntary manslaughter. 

She was jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail and faces a maximum sentence of seven years, four months in prison if convicted.