NEW YORK (AP) — The mother of a dead 2-year-old girl found unresponsive in her Queens home with broken bones and smashed teeth was arraigned Thursday on second-degree murder and assault charges.
Ashley Diaz, 28, did not enter a plea and was ordered held without bail following her arraignment in the death of Kevasia Edwards. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
The little girl had two broken ribs, bruises on her legs and body and was bleeding from the mouth when she was found unconscious Monday night. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Diaz's attorney, Kathleen Gallo, did not return a call for comment but told a judge that Edwards may have sustained some of her injuries while a neighbor was performing CPR, according to the New York Post.
Diaz, a mother of five, was arrested Wednesday evening. She told investigators her daughter fell after suffering a seizure Monday night but that she didn't take her to a doctor, instead calling a neighbor for help hours after the fall, prosecutors said. It was the neighbor's sister who called 911, they said.
An autopsy report by the city's medical examiner — which found signs of an earlier burn and previous bruises — disputed the possibility that Edwards' injuries were a result of falling after a seizure, prosecutors said.
The autopsy found the child also showed signs of subdural bleeding, hemorrhage under her scalp and optical nerve damage that the medical examiner found consistent with abusive head trauma, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, who called the allegations "totally incomprehensible."
The Administration for Children's Services had visited Diaz's Far Rockaway home at least four times in the past few years, police said, though three of the visits proved unfounded.
A spokesman for ACS wouldn't provide any details on the agency's history with the family but said ACS and the police were investigating.
"As part of the investigation of this and other recent fatalities, we are closely reviewing ACS policies and procedures to improve practices across the child welfare system and make sure that we are doing all we can to keep children safe," the statement said.
Diaz's other children, all boys aged 10, 6, 4 and 3, are now in ACS custody.
The death of a 4-year-old New York City boy last month who prosecutors say was found tortured and beaten by the girlfriend of the boy's jailed father spurred Mayor Bill de Blasio to order ACS to review the case and its policies.
That review found case workers missed possible signs that Myls Dobson was at risk earlier in his life, including the fact his father was in jail while he had custody of him from September 2012 to February 2013, officials said after a review.