Veronica T. Herrera pleaded not guilty Friday to a felony charge of destruction of evidence and is set to begin a jury trial Jan. 29 in front of 3rd District Judge Thomas Ryan.
By the time the case goes to trial, Herrera will likely have more criminal charges filed against her, Owyhee County Prosecutor Doug Emery said Friday.
The 29-year-old Herrera is accused of burning the body of her 2-year-old daughter in a burn barrel at her Homedale residence in August.
Herrera told police her 2-year-old daughter was fatally injured after she hit her head while potty training Aug. 15. Herrera also said was scared and freaked out about the possibility of losing custody of her other children if she told police what happened, so she decided to burn the toddlers body, according to court documents obtained by the Idaho Statesman.
Herrera ended up turning herself into police on Aug. 18 and confessing, according to court records. She is being held in the Owyhee County Jail on a $500,000 bond as she waits for the trial to begin in January.
Herrera told police that her daughter Nakita, who just turned 2 in August, jumped off her potty chair during training and hit her head on a heater. Herrera said that led to Nakitas death hours later.
To make sure that no one found Nakita, Herrera told police, she put the body in a barrel behind her house on Washington Street and started a blaze Aug. 16 that burned for as long as two days. Herrera told police that she had her other children put garbage in the barrel to keep the fire going.
On the morning of Aug. 18, Herrera walked up to an officer outside a Nampa police station. Crying, she told the officer that she did something bad, that her child was hurt and that she made it worse, according to documents.
Later, Herrera told a Nampa police detective that God will never forgive her for what she has done, according to probable cause documents obtained by the Statesman.
Emery did not say Friday what other charges he is considering filing against Herrera.