Texas woman sentenced to 55 years for killing Wichita mother, kidnapping baby

Published: May. 30, 2018 at 5:43 PM CDT
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Update: Friday, July 13, 2018

A Texas woman who prosecutors say fatally shot a Wichita mother and kidnapped her newborn daughter has been sentenced.

A Sedgwick County judge sentenced Yesenia Sesmas Friday morning to 50 years in prison for the death of Laura Abarca-Nogueda.

Sesmas was also sentenced to 5 years for kidnapping and 13 months for aggravated interference of parental custody which will run concurrently.

Abarca's family spoke in front of the courtroom, saying Sesmas destroyed their lives and deprived a young child of her mother's love.

Sesmas declined to speak when the judge asked if there was anything she wanted to say.

Abarca's brother, Jose Abarca says the family is looking forward to some peace in their lives, and to focus on giving baby Sophia as much love and care as possible.

"Sophia is just like my sister, they're identical I think, a little piece of Laura that is still here," Jose Abarca said.


Update Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Following deliberation Tuesday afternoon, a Sedgwick County jury returns a guilty verdict against the woman accused of killing a Wichita mother and kidnapping her six-day-old baby in November 2016.

The jury found Yesenisa Sesmas guilty on the charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and interference with parental custody.

The defense argued Sesmas did not plan the murder and that she would have taken steps to conceal the crime, drive a different vehicle among other things had she truly planned the crime. With this argument, the defense made the point to the jurors that they should consider a lesser charge than first-degree murder.

Update Monday, June 4, 2018

The testimony portion of the trial for Yesenia Sesmas wrapped up Monday afternoon.

Dallas police detective Jose Ortiz-Vives interviewed Sesmas shortly after her arrest back in November 2016.

The detective said Sesmas told him Laura Abarca had agreed to give her Baby Sophia.

Sesmas told Dallas police she met a man at Plainview Park in Wichita who agreed to help her take the child from Abarca in exchange for a $1,000 payment.

The detective told the court Sesmas said she allegedly told this man to make the scene look like a robbery by tying Abarca up and covering her face.

The detective said Sesmas later changed her story and told him she was the one who entered the home but that she never meant to actually kill Abarca.

"She said she hit her in the forehead. She said the gun went off, it hit her in the forehead, and she said she got scared and that's when she tried to leave the house without the girl. That's when she said she closed the door again and went inside," said Det. Ortiz-Vives.

A Wichita police detective testified there was never any evidence to prove Sesmas' initial claim that the man she said she hired ever existed - going on to say it was a lie she fabricated.

Closing arguments are expected Tuesday. The case will then go to the jury.


Update Friday, June 1, 2018

The woman accused of killing a new mother and taking her baby complained of being sick several times during the third day of her trial.

Yesenia Sesmas is charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping.

Friday, her attorneys had to interrupt several testimonies as Sesmas complained about feeling sick to her stomach and asked for medical attention for chest pains.

Sesmas first told her attorneys about her chest pains Friday morning. She was taken to Via Christi-St. Francis hospital where she was released shortly after her arrival.

Court reconvened with Sesmas about 1 p.m. An hour later, she told her attorney was feeling sick to her stomach and needed to leave.

During the trial Friday, jurors heard from ballistics experts, a Dallas police detective involved in the case and forensics experts, among others.

Court was dismissed about 4:20 p.m. after Sesmas complained of feeling ill for a third time. Again she reported feeling chest pains and asked for medical attention.

Sesmas' attorney says his client has generalized anxiety disorder. The trial continues at 9 a.m. Monday.


Update: Friday 12 p.m.

A court spokesperson says a woman accused of killing a Wichita woman and abducting her newborn daughter has been hospitalized in the middle of her trial.

Attorneys told the judge Yesenia Sesmas was having chest pain. She was able to walk to the judge's chamber on her own and was taken to the hospital.

Court is set to reconvene in about an hour.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Guadalupe Nogueda, Laura Abarca's mother, took the stand Thursday morning in the trial centered around the woman accused of killing Nogueda's daughter and kidnapping her granddaughter.

Nogueda told the court she knew Yesenia Sesmas and had even met her on several occasions, including the day before police say Sesmas shot and killed Abarca.

Nogueda said she with lived with Abarca, her fiancee Manuel, and the couple's newborn daughter Sophia.

She told the court she had taken a few days off work in late November 2016 to care for her daughter who had just given birth.

When Sedgwick County Attorney Marc Bennett, the prosecuting attorney, asked Nogueda when she last saw Sesmas, she said it was the day before her daughter, Laura, was killed.

She said Sesmas came to their apartment for about 45 minutes to chat, but at no point in their conversation did her daughter ever suggest giving Sesmas her baby.

"How could you believe my daughter could do that? She bought a life insurance policy for her daughter. She breastfed her, how can that even be possible?" Nogueda said through a translator.

She tells Eyewitness News she now simply wants justice for her daughter...

Her granddaughter, Baby Sophia is now one-and-a-half-year-old. The family says Sophia is doing well, but will always need the love and care of her mother.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The trial is underway for the woman accused of killing a Wichita mother and kidnapping her infant daughter, Sophia.

Jury selection wrapped up and opening statements started Wednesday in the case against Yesenia Sesmas, accused of

Arbarca's family and baby Sophia's father were in court Wednesday, emotional at the testimony and evidence presented.

Through opening statements, prosecutors say Sesmas planned to kill Abarca with the intention of taking her baby and raising Sophia as her own.

Investigators were able to track Sesmas to her home in Dallas. It was here that police arrested her. After police arrested Sesmas, they returned baby Sophia to her father, Manual Gonzalez.

Gonzalez testified Wednesday afternoon. He says he came home on Nov. 16, 2016 to find Abarca dead from a gunshot wound to the head and that his daughter was missing.

Gonzalez says he'd never met Sesmas.

Sesmas, who speaks Spanish, sat silently in court Wednesday, ,listening through an interpreter.

Prosecutors say in Sesmas' plan to kill Abarca and raise baby Sophia as her own, she even sent pictures of the baby to her own family, saying she'd given birth to her in Wichita.

Prosecutors says Sesmas messaged Abarca, likely looking for the right moment to take baby Sophia.

Sesmas faces charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping.