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Neighbors Defend Mom in Train Case

October 24, 1997

UPLAND, Calif. (AP) _ As she placed two roses by the side of the railroad track where a train killed her two daughters, Jackie Robles’ tears came all too easily.

``My babies, my babies, oh my babies,″ Robles said between sobs.

As prosecutors consider child endangerment charges against the mother of the two toddlers killed Tuesday, neighbors and friends insisted she was a good mother.

Robles, 21, was released from custody Thursday following a two-day stay in jail. She went to the makeshift shrine beside the tracks and was overcome, able to do little more than cry.

Her daughters, Alexes Elaine Robles, 3, and Deziree Andrea Soto, 22 months, were killed instantly after wandering onto the tracks while their mother dozed at home.

Supporters are outraged that her loss could be compounded by jail.

``They’re painting her as a bad person, and she is not,″ said neighbor Latin Maxie, 24. ``She was a good mother. It was an isolated incident and it could have happened to anybody.″

Robles is expected to appear at a custody hearing today for her 2-month-old son who authorities put into protective custody, said Jeanette Provenghi, Alexes’ godmother.

The young mother apparently fell asleep because her son was sick all night.

In this working class neighborhood about 45 miles east of Los Angeles, friends said Robles had already suffered enough and begged authorities to drop the charges.

A petition supporting the young mother got more than 100 signatures.

``I don’t know why they would still want to investigate her,″ said Karen Grosenheiger, a friend who started the petition. ``She’s innocent.″

San Bernardino County prosecutors said they needed more time to evaluate the evidence. They indicated the case involves more than a tired single mother who fell asleep.

A decision might be made in about two weeks, officials said.

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