Arcata woman to be tried for infant death

Paul Mann
Mad River Union

EUREKA – Humboldt County Superior Court has scheduled a Nov. 21 trial date for a native Pole and Arcata resident charged with the death of her seven-week-old daughter.

Ewa Misztal, 28, who lived in the Parkway Apartments on Union Street in Arcata, is accused of causing a trauma to the infant’s head.

Five exhibits of state’s evidence include 10 photocopies of the baby girl’s head from multiple angles and of her upper body.

The autopsy photos followed up a postmortem X-ray that revealed the fatal injury.

The latest court documents, reviewed by a reporter Oct. 7, do not specify the nature of the trauma or how it was inflicted.

Misztal is in Humboldt County jail on $1 million bail, pending her trial confirmation hearing Nov. 8

At the suspect’s recent arraignment, her lawyer, Public Defender Casey Russo, asked Judge Joyce D. Hinrichs for the Nov. 21 trial date, saying he had not yet received either the autopsy report or a series of other unspecified documents that he deemed “crucial to the case.”

Ewa Misztal

Ewa Misztal

Misztal was near or in tears and visibly agitated during her arraignment.

The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett, represented the People but did not address the court. She readily assented to the late November trial date.

Arcata Police headed to the Parkway Apartments late on Saturday morning, Aug. 27, responding to the report of an unresponsive infant. Her injuries were not immediately apparent. Officers administered CPR and then the baby was rushed to Mad River Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The official charge against Misztal is suspicion of felony child abuse, causing great bodily injury or death. The complaint was filed Aug. 31, four days after her daughter died.

The mother’s Facebook page listed her as a native of Kraków, Poland’s second largest city, located on the Vistula River.

Also according to the Facebook posting, before moving to Arcata, Misztal lived successively in Dzialoszyce, a hamlet of 1,100 people in southern Poland; Hyampom, Calif.; Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Opio, Alpes-Maritimes, France; Peymeinade in southeast France close to the Mediterranean coast and Krong Siam Reap, the provincial capital in northwestern Cambodia.

The Facebook page displayed a photo of Misztal with a baby, tagged as taken in August in Arcata.

One of the autopsy photos showed the infant lying face down on a white blanket with a yellow tag.

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