SAN FERNANDO (CNS) — A Newhall man pleaded no contest today to a first-degree murder charge for drowning his 19-day-old daughter, whose body was later found in the cab of a pickup in Santa Clarita.
Matthew Brendan Warner, 30, is expected to be sentenced to 50 years to life in prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 6 in San Fernando.
Ellorah Rose Warner’s body was found Jan. 24 in the front cab of a Nissan pickup in an apartment complex parking lot in the 23600 block of Newhall Avenue. She had been reported missing when the father and mother walked in to the sheriff’s station in Santa Clarita at about 9:30 p.m. the previous day.
Police dogs, deputies on foot and helicopter crews began an extensive search in the area near the unmarried couple’s condo, in the southern end of Newhall.
But at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 24, Warner led investigators to the older-model Nissan truck, which was parked about a half-mile from the condo. Ellorah was pronounced dead at the scene. Prosecutors said the infant’s body was wrapped in towels and placed inside some bags.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Warner drowned the child while the girl’s mother was at work, then hid the body and claimed she had been kidnapped.
In addition to murder, Warner was originally charged with assault, torture and sex-related charges involving the child. As part of the plea agreement, those charges are expected to be dropped when he is sentenced, according to the District Attorney’s Office.