A 4-year-old Philadelphia girl was physically injured and finally murdered by a caretaker her mother esteemed, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office.
Police returned to a call on Oct. 30, where Samilya Brown said Zya Singleton had wounded herself by falling out of a second-floor glass while playing with a cat, the DA’s office told, but doctors found discrepancies in Brown’s story. The 4-year-old died on Nov. 3.
The medical examiner then discovered what the DA called “horrific” signs of abuse: smoke burns, bite marks, malnourishment, and wounds possibly treated with homemade stitches that had grown infected.
Investigators say the story of Zya falling from the window was created, and the child’s cause of death was the abuse and negligence inflicted by Brown.
Brown, 38, was charged Tuesday with killing and threatening the welfare of a child.
The DA’s office says Zya’s biological mom had given custody of the child to Brown to keep the daughter out of foster care. The two women had known each other for ages, but the mother allegedly did not know of the abuse. The mother was able to see Zya before she expired.
“This child was murdered, and was killed brutally, and was abused for a long period of time,” Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner told at a press conference Tuesday, reports NBC Philadelphia. “This is a horrific, tragic case of abuse, neglect, and murder of an innocent, helpless child.”