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Burned body identified as missing Planada woman

Baby found left on doorstep

POSTED December 7, 2010 9:45 p.m.

The charred human remains found in a Snelling orchard Thursday were positively identified Tuesday as that of a missing Planada woman. Also on Tuesday an infant baby boy was found on a door step in Le Grand and the Merced County Sheriff’s Department is trying to determine if it is the woman’s missing 2-month-old son.

The sheriff’s department identified the homicide victim as that of 26-year-old Ana Lila Diaz DeCeja. Sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie said the identification was made through dental records. A cause of death has not been determined and investigators are awaiting the results of a toxicology test.

DeCeja was last seen Thursday morning with her 2-month-old son Anthony Ceja-Diaz.

On Tuesday, a Le Grand resident discovered a crying baby left on a neighbor’s doorstep.

The baby was found in the 4000 block of Fresno Road in Le Grand.

The Le Grand man was leaving his home around 6:30 a.m. when he heard the distinct cries of a baby coming from his next door neighbor’s house.

The man went over to investigate and found an infant wrapped in a blanket and wedged between the front door and the security screen, MacKenzie said.

The man woke the residents of the house and they contacted the sheriff’s department.

“The homeowner has no idea who the child is or why anyone would leave the child there,” MacKenzie said.

The infant was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Merced for treatment of exposure. The baby is recovering in the hospital, MacKenzie said.

Investigators are working to identify the child by comparing footprints of Anthony’s and conducting a DNA test with family members.

On Friday night the sheriff’s department found the Chevrolet Avalanche Diaz was last seen driving as she left her Planada home. The vehicle was found at Monte Vista Avenue and Bledsoe Road, about seven miles from the Snelling orchard where the body was found, according to the sheriff’s department.

The sheriff’s department said Anthony’s father and DeCeja’s family have been cooperating with investigators.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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