Queens man arrested in death of abused toddler
NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - NYPD detectives investigating the death of a 3-year-old girl in Queens have arrested the live-in boyfriend of the girl's mother.
Authorities charged Marc Jenkins, 32, Tuesday evening with murder and assault, according to the Queens district attorney.
Jenkins, who lives at 1 Beach 105 Street, called 911 at about 6 p.m. Monday about an unconscious child, authorities said.
Police and EMS responded to the call. Medics rushed the unresponsive girl, identified as Bella Edwards, to St. John's Hospital, where she died.
Sources told Fox 5 reporter Lisa Evers that Bella suffered severe trauma and bore the type of bruises on her body that typically indicate violent, repeated abuse.
"This is a terribly disturbing case," District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. "The victim here is an innocent little girl, whose body revealed traumatic abuse injuries."
Preliminary results of the autopsy showed that Bella died from blunt-force trauma to her abdomen, Brown said.
Jenkins was the only adult at the apartment with Bella and her 3-month-old sibling for about 8 hours on Monday, Brown said.
Police had gone to the apartment on prior domestic violence calls, but the Administration for Children's Services was not formally involved until Bella's unexplained death, sources close to the investigation said. ACS took a 3-month baby from the apartment for her safety Monday night.
"Our top priority is protecting the safety and wellbeing of all children in New York City," ACS Deputy Commissioner Eric Ferrero said in a statement. "As soon as this family came to our attention last night, we immediately launched an investigation with the NYPD and we secured the safety of the other child in this home."
In a Facebook post, the little girl's mother said: "Bella i'm so sorry I wasn't their [sic] to protect you. This feels like a bad dream I cant wake up from."