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Mother charged in death of Baby James Chairez pleads no contest in court

D'Lanny Chairez plead no contest to one count of tampering with evidence in the case. Her 20-month-old baby was found dead in their mobile home.

SAN ANTONIO — A mother charged in the death of her baby pleaded no contest in a San Antonio courtroom on Thursday.

Baby James Chairez was 20 months old when he was reported missing, and was later found dead in the mobile home where he lived with his mother. D'Lanny Chairez pleaded no contest to one charge of tampering with evidence.

San Antonio Police initially started searching for the missing mom and baby in February of 2021, in a case that received national attention. Surveillance video last showed James alive on Jan. 4 of that year, with D'Lanny pushing him in a stroller. 

The mother was found and arrested in March, and she reportedly told investigators she wanted to give her child up for adoption because she wasn't ready to be a mother. Police say that since then, she had been silent on his whereabouts.

In April of 2021, police found remains in the family's mobile home. In May, they confirmed that the remains belonged to Baby James. Investigators conducted an autopsy, and it is unclear if any more charges will be filed.

Chairez's aunt, Mariesol Gomez, has been vocal throughout the case. She wants to see her niece charged directly for causing the death of Baby James.

"It's important for me to follow through with this case, because this is for James," she said. "I'm gonna fight for justice for him. If it means I have to be here all the time, it means I'm gonna cry every time, it means I'm gonna be disgusted, disturbed and hurt through it, I'm gonna sit there." 

Chairez is set to appear in a sentencing hearing on August 8.