Southern California mom accused of cocaine use, child neglect, animal cruelty

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A 44-year-old woman in San Bernardino County was arrested on child abuse charges just hours after investigators said she left her three young children alone for hours while she smoked cocaine at another location.  

The ordeal began May 31 when deputies with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department conducted a welfare check at a short-term rental in Big Bear City, a news release from SBSD stated.  

At that time, deputies said the woman, identified as Marinda Montanez, had left her children, including her 8-year-old daughter, alone for some five hours.  

“An incident report was taken to document the situation and forwarded it to Child and Family Services,” the release noted.  

On June 1, deputies were called to the 44-year-old’s home in the 39000 block of North Shore Drive in Fawnskin on reports of approximately 50 neglected dogs left in cages in the heat and without food. 

Montanez told deputies that she was the caretaker for the animals.  

Most of the dogs were confiscated by San Bernardino County Animal Control and Montanez was arrested. She was later released on a citation for animal cruelty.  

Just hours later, investigators were called back out to her home in Fawnskin after allegations the 44-year-old was neglecting her 8-year-old daughter. The unidentified girl was taken to Big Bear Valley Community Hospital where she was treated for unspecified wounds and released from care, authorities said.  

However, Montanez’s three kids were then removed from her home and placed with children and family services after detectives said the 44-year-old left the three kids on May 31 to smoke cocaine in Victorville.  

Authorities did not reveal how they learned she had been smoking cocaine on that date and at that location.

Montanez was arrested for child abuse and neglect and booked at the Big Bear Jail. She is currently in custody at the West Valley Detention Center on $100,000 bail and is due to appear in court on June 4.  

Anyone with information related to this investigation is urged to contact SBSD Detective Casillas at 909-866-0105. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip Hotline at 800-782-7463 or leave tips online at  

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.