Where’s the Dad? Media Accounts Ignore Father in Paternity Fraud, Attempted Murder, Child Abuse Case

This is a lurid tale, so it’s no surprise that it’s received a good bit of media attention (Orange County Register, 7/22/10).

Back in August of 2008, Shawn Sepulveda was married and had two children. But she had an affair with a co-worker and became pregnant. Strangely enough, she was able to conceal her pregnancy from her husband, or at least she mostly did. He was suspicious, but whenever he or their children asked her, she denied being pregnant.

Sepulveda gave birth in the bathroom of their apartment, cut the umbilical cord with a kitchen knife, wrapped the newborn in fabric and put it in a dumpster outside the apartment complex in which they lived. Her husband sent their 11-year-old daughter out to look around and she found the baby in the dumpster. They called 911, the baby was taken into foster care and Sepulveda was arrested and charged with attempted murder, for which she could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted. Her trial started last week.

So this is another example of the many ways children can be abused by adults. There’s nothing new in that.

What I find interesting though, is the Amazing Disappearing Dad. The child’s life was saved and presumably it’s healthy and by now almost two years old. So who’s caring for it? The husband? The father? It’s odd how the writers of the various articles seem to care about the baby’s welfare, but never mention the actual dad. Where is he? Who is he? Does he have custody?

Under California law, the husband is presumptively the father, but no one believes that to be the case here. Has paternity been established? Has a child support order been made? Do the husband and the father share custody? Has CPS placed the child in foster care permanently?

I’ve written a fair amount about paternity fraud. It’s always seemed to me to be one of the least honorable things a woman can do to a man. But Shawn Sepulveda took the concept a good bit further than most.

Thanks to David for the heads-up.

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