Plea expected Thursday in toddler death

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Lawrenceville woman accused of shaking an infant to death two years ago and then fleeing the United States for Mexico is expected to face a Gwinnett County Superior Court judge this week.

Alma Leticia Sanchez-Martinez, 19, faces felony charges of murder and cruelty to children after police said her niece died from symptoms of shaken baby syndrome.

Sanchez-Martinez allegedly fled the country soon after investigators charged her in the death of 11-month-old Martiza Chavira-Quintero.

The baby was transported to Scottish Rite Hospital in January 2006, where she died from her injuries four days later.

David Keeton, assistant district attorney, said Sanchez-Martinez is expected to enter a plea in Superior Court Thursday morning.

Sanchez-Martinez lived with the victim's family. She had apparently been baby-sitting her niece when the baby was hospitalized, police said at the time.

Five months later, FBI agents extradited Sanchez-Martinez back to Atlanta from where she was staying in Monterrey, Mexico, with her husband.

The FBI had communicated with Mexican authorities and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help bring back Sanchez-Martinez.

She was turned over to the Gwinnett police on May 15 that year. She has remained in the Gwinnett County Jail since then without bond.

Authorities said the accused woman and her husband left behind their own 13-month-old baby when they left for Mexico. That child was removed from their custody and put up for adoption.

Sanchez-Martinez's husband has not been charged in the case.