Fresno woman thought her baby was 'possessed' and that she had to drown her.
By Chris Collins / The Fresno Bee
A 30-year-old Fresno woman told police that the devil made her drown her 7-month-old daughter in a bathtub on Christmas Eve and that the baby was "possessed," according to a search warrant affidavit.
The affidavit, which identifies the woman as Lisa Brown and the baby as Julian Engelman, says Brown told police that "she was new to being a mother and she did not know what she was doing." It says that "Lisa then stated she had to do this to her baby because her baby is possessed by demons."
Fresno County sheriff's deputies went to Brown's east-central Fresno home Monday morning after a 911 call reported the baby was dead. Sheriff's Department spokesman Chris Curtice said the mother is believed to have made the call. He said he would not release the 911 tape.
On Thursday, the District Attorney's Office charged Brown with one count of murder and one count of assault on a child resulting in death. If convicted, she faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Brown is scheduled to be arraigned in Fresno County Superior Court this afternoon. Curtice said Brown is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.
The affidavit says Brown told a fire captain who responded to the 911 call that she had drowned her baby and then tried to resuscitate her. It says Brown then told the captain that "the devil made her do it." The 7-month-old was transported to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.
A coroner's official said Thursday that an autopsy has been done, but the cause of the baby's death has not yet been determined. The official said the baby's name is spelled Jillian Engleman, which differs from how it is spelled in the affidavit.
The affidavit says Brown told police that she had been medicating herself by smoking marijuana and had smoked marijuana Sunday night. It also says that Brown said that "she feels like she is on methamphetamines, but stated she has not been using methamphetamine." Brown also said she was taking Paxil, an antidepressant, according to the affidavit.
Neighbors said Brown appeared to be a loving parent and could often be seen wheeling her child down the street in a stroller.
During a search of Brown's home, sheriff's deputies confiscated a blue pill and a pink pill, both found in a hallway, as well as a "plastic baggie with green leafy substance."
They also found a pink baby's towel, a pink baby's robe, and a stuffed toy bear.
Bee staff writer Louis Galvan contributed to this report. The reporter can be reached at ccollins @fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6412.