A mother accused of drowning her 4-year-old son in a bathtub in April entered a San Diego courtroom Wednesday appearing downcast and withdrawn.
Patricia Corby, 36, sobbed and rocked back-and-forth as the first witness took the stand in Wednesday's preliminary hearing. Patricia's family in the courtroom began to cry and cover their mouths upon her entrance.
Investigators claim that she admitted to drowning her son Daniel in a bathtub in April, then drove him to the police station, flagging down an officer and telling him she'd just killed her son. The officer then saw the body in a blanket in the backseat of Patricia's car.
The child was not breathing and medics were unable to save him. Patricia was arrested that night and now faces charges of murder and assault on a child.
Patricia was a stay-at-home mom, who was learning new ways to teach her son, who had some form of autism, one neighbor said.
The first witness brought to testify Wednesday was Marina Ellis, an early childhood special education teacher. When Ellis said Daniel's name, Patricia began moaning, yelling and crying loudly. Ellis continued and Patricia rocked backward and forward with her hair covering her face, still crying.
Ellis said Daniel was making progress in school, and was improving in his interactions with his peers. As Ellis described Daniel's progress in school, Patricia continued crying loudly.
"He was very independent in that he wanted to do things on his own," Ellis said. "He had difficulty at times transferring from a preferred activity to a less-preferred activity."
Ellis added that Patricia always appeared very loving and concerned for her son's progress.
The second witness called to testify was Daniel's Godfather, Mario Armando Vidales. He said he often talked to Patricia about her difficulties, both financial and as the parent of a child with special needs.
"On several occasions [Patricia] said having autistic child was a little too much on her plate," Vidales said."She was not able to work because of taking care for Daniel...saying it was too much for her."
Patricia's husband is expected to testify in the hearing as well.
Check back for updates on this developing story.
Keep up to date on breaking news: Download our improved iPhone app, follow us on Twitter @nbcsandiego, fan us on Facebook, sign up for our breaking news e-mail alerts or text SDBREAKING to 622339 to receive text messages for local breaking news. (For more info, text HELP. To end, text STOP. Message and data rates may apply.)