Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA – The 30-year-old citizen of Poland who killed her baby in August of 2016 is mentally unwell and unlikely to see freedom in the forseeable future, if ever.
As part of a plea agreement, Ewa Misztal entered dual pleas of guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of voluntary manslaughter and child endangerment last Friday morning in Humboldt County Superior Court.
Misztal, who has a history of mental illness, faces at least 11 years in state prison or possible indefinite hospitalization in a state mental facility.
Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Schaffer said that if sent to a mental hospital, Misztal’s commitment could be extended beyond the maximum term.
“The long and short of it is, petitions can be made to extend her commitment,” Schaffer said.
Misztal’s seven-week-old daughter, Gigi, died at Mad River Community Hospital after sustaining extensive injuries.
A resident of the Parkway Apartments, Misztal told police she had “accidentally struck
the child’s head on a door frame while she was moving about the apartment.”
But court documents indicated that the baby suffered head injuries consistent with “far more significant impact than banging into a door frame.” Photographs documented multiple skull fractures radiating along and across the crown of the baby’s head, while dark blood along and under the infant’s scalp suggesting bruising.
The photos also showed an abrasion atop the baby’s nose, bruising to her legs below the knees, bruising on the back of her left hand “and distortion of the back of the head.”
APD Detective Sgt. Todd Dokweiler (now a lieutenant) confirmed the coroner’s finding that the mother’s claim of a door jamb head bump “was not consistent in any way with the injuries that he saw.”
Misztal was arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse, causing great bodily injury or death and lodged in Humboldt County Jail on $1 million bail.
Misztal’s Facebook page listed her as a native of Krakow, Poland. Other residences listed include Dzialoszyce, Poland; Hyampom, Calif.; Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Opio, Alpes-Maritimes, France; Peymeinade, France; and Siam Reap, Cambodia.
An update on Misztal’s placement is scheduled for Tuesday, March 6 at 8:30 a.m.