A Quartz Hill woman pleaded not guilty today to murder and other charges stemming from the death of her 18-month-old daughter, whom she initially claimed was taken from her in a violent kidnapping.

Along with murder, Stacey Marie Barker is accused of one count each of assault on a child causing death and child abuse.

Authorities allege the 24-year-old woman initially lied to investigators about the circumstances of her toddler’s death.

She told sheriff’s deputies that someone knocked her out as she was putting her daughter into a car seat in Lancaster on the evening of March 19, and that she awoke hours later at a park-and-ride lot in Palmdale.

Barker allegedly inflicted wounds to her head, partially undressed and faked semi-consciousness in an attempt to mislead deputies.

Under questioning, she later told deputies that her daughter, Emma Leigh, died in an unspecified accident and said she panicked and dumped the body, according to the sheriff’s department.

Investigators recovered the toddler’s body in a yard in the 13000 block of El Dorado Avenue in Sylmar. (At least she confessed and didn’t let it drag on for months.)

Barker has remained jailed since her arrest April 23.

She is due back at the Antelope Valley Courthouse in Lancaster on June 15, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to require her to stand trial.

What is with young mothers these days tiring of being a parent and killing their children? There are so many families that would love to adopt a healthy toddler. And I am quite sure that family members would have taken in these little girls. It makes no sense.
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