District Attorney Maggie Fleming said in an email to the Journal
that a Sept. 14 preliminary hearing has been set for Ewa Misztal, a 28-year-old Polish national.
Misztal was living in an Arcata apartment on the 400 block of Union Street with her 7-week-old daughter, whose name has not been released by authorities, when the injuries occurred.
Arcata Police Department Detective Sgt. Todd Dokweiler said a neighbor called 911 around 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 27 after Misztal went to them for help because the child was not breathing.
Dokweiler said an officer administered CPR to the baby in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, but the department was notified about 30 minutes later that the child had not survived.
“There were skull fractures found and they were fairly significant,” he said. “So, in our investigation, that would be suspicious in nature for a child of that age.”
Misztal was arrested several hours later.
The man who Misztal identified as the father has been notified. Dokweiler said, adding he lives outside of Humboldt County but within the United States.
APD has not received the coroner’s report in the case but Misztal’s arrest warrant states the baby suffered from an “unnatural skull fracture and there was probable cause to believe the above suspect was at fault.”
Dokweiler said the child did not show any other signs of injury and “seemed otherwise healthy.”
The coroner’s office did not return a phone call.
What brought Misztal to Humboldt County is unclear. According to her Facebook account, she is originally from Krakow, Poland, but has lived in Thailand, Cambodia, France and Mexico. Her account shows her moving to Hyampom in October of 2015 then to Mexico then back to Hyampom, but lists her current city as Dzialoszyce, Poland.
There are relatively few references to the baby on Misztal’s Facebook page — none that mention her name — and a handful of photos with about half showing the child’s face. In others, the baby is slung over Misztal's shoulder in what appear to be selfies.
Misztal’s last Facebook post was on Aug. 21.
Dokweiler said APD had no previous contact with Misztal before her arrest.
Humboldt County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Selena Zorrilla-Mendoza said she could not comment on whether Misztal is being held in the general jail population or if she was under a suicide watch.
While noting that he is limited in what he can say due to the ongoing case, Dokweiler said Misztal has “cooperated more with the investigation as the case has gone on.”
The mother of a baby girl who died after being taken to Mad River Hospital with what police described as severe skull fractures remains in jail on $1 million bail after pleading not guilty to causing the injuries that led to her daughter’s death.