HOMEDALE, Idaho -- The Owyhee County Prosecutor has charged 29-year-old Veronica T. Herrera with destroying, altering or concealing the body of her 2-year-old daughter. The details of the case have been revealed in court documents, some of which are very disturbing and graphic.
According to court documents, Herrera is accused of buying lighter fluid, placing the body in a burn barrel, using the lighter fluid and lighting the body on fire. Prosecutors allege she knew the body was soon to be discovered as evidence of a felony.
Mother reported what she'd done to police
Police and forensics experts began working at Herrera's home on Washington Avenue around 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night. Police initially told KTVB they were working a suspicious child death investigation.
A Homedale Police Department report made public on Monday explains that Herrera went to Nampa Police on Saturday and said "she did something bad, and that her child was hurt and that she made it worse." She told an officer that her daughter was dead and they "will never find the body".
The report details Herrera's comments to police where she explained that her daughter fell off of a "potty chair" into a heater and hit her head on Wednesday. She told detectives she then left the toddler with her 9-year-old son while she went to see her sister's home.
Herrera was scared she would lose custody of children
When she later returned home, Herrera said she found the 2-year-old not breathing and began to "freak out." According to the report, Herrera told detectives she did not call anyone because 'she did not want to lose her children'.
Herrera told the detective that she initially put her daughter's body in her minivan overnight. She told police she that on Thursday she bought lighter fluid and put her daughter's body into a burn barrel, adding garbage on top. In the documents, police say "Veronica even told [the detective] that she was having the other children put trash into the burn barrel." She also told police that over the days, she burned items that reminded her of her daughter.
Girl's father was out of town fighting wild fires
The child's father, who is Herrera's boyfriend, had been out of town fighting wild fires. Herrera told police he would call daily asking how the baby was and she would lie, saying the girl was staying at Herrera's parents' house.
When the girl's father returned from the wild fires on Saturday, Herrera said he asked about the toddler again, and she asked him to drive her to her parents' home and take the kids to the fair. She told her parents what she had done, and they drove her to the Nampa Police Department to report what happened.
Bond set at $500,000
Herrera is in the custody of the Owyhee County Sheriff's Office with a bond set at $500,000.