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Family comes forward for orphaned baby

Child goes into surgery Thursday with grandparents by her side

Posted: July 24, 2014 5:36 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2014 5:36 p.m.

Baby Violeta Martinez was just learning to walk when Tuesday’s fatal crash in Acton claimed the lives of her parents, relatives of the orphaned girl said Thursday.

The little girl, who just turned 1 year old recently, was pulled from the wreckage of her family’s car after it crashed on the Highway 14 freeway near Santiago Road Tuesday night, a witness said. She was airlifted to county-USC Medical Center by Los Angeles County paramedics.

Her father and mother, Ivan Ramirez and Felicia Martinez, both 31 of Palmdale, died as a result of injuries suffered in the single-car crash.

On Tuesday, Violeta underwent surgery on her legs, according to her relatives in Chicago and an officer with the California Highway Patrol.

“The baby has a fractured tibia,” Antelope Valley CHP Officer Jeremy Picker said Thursday, “and was supposed to go into surgery today.”

In the last month, Chicago relatives of the little girl enjoyed watching her take her first steps via social networks online, said one family member.

“I can’t believe this happened,” said Maria Chavez, a sister of Felicia Martinez’s.

“I feel very bad for my niece,” she said, her voice breaking with emotion.

Speaking through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, Chavez added: “We are all in shock.”

While Violeta is now an orphan, she is not without loving family members who want to care for her, according to relatives and the CHP.

“Her grandparents are with her bedside at the hospital,” Picker said Thursday. “And we’ve had siblings of the mother come forward to, basically, take custody of her.

“They’re talking amongst themselves to sort out how it will be done,” he said.

Violeta Martinez was riding in the car northbound with her parents shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday when the Ford Focus hit the guard rail, “continued forward and struck a large metal pole just west of the guard rail, causing major damage to the vehicle,” Antelope Valley CHP Officer R.S. Tamayo said.

Felicia Martinez, a passenger in the car, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Ramirez was taken by ambulance to Palmdale Regional Medical Center but died as a result of his injuries, Picker said.

More than half a dozen people stopped their cars on the side of the freeway and ran to help occupants of the car, said a Santa Clarita Valley woman who witnessed the rescue efforts. Baby Violeta — crying and screaming according to one witness — was pulled from the car by the good Samaritans.

While Violeta was recovering from major injuries at county-USC Medical Center, investigators with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Department were busy trying to find the girl’s next of kin.

Those relatives have since come forward. Felicia Martinez had three sisters, including one who lives in Palmdale. “My aunt called the coroner and she wants to take care of her,” said a cousin of Violeta.

On Thursday, after autopsies were performed on the bodies, investigators with the coroner’s department confirmed that Martinez and Ramirez died of multiple traumatic injuries in an accident.

An investigation into the crash was continuing.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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