Briarwood, QUEENS (PIX11) —The mother of a 4-year-old who died at a Queens homeless shelter has been charged with her death.
Latoya Curry, 35, of 80-20 134th St. in Queens, has been charged with second-degree murder after the Medical Examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide. Curry is also being charged with first-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
Police said Curry brutalized her daughter because she spilled lotion.
The little girl, Linayjah Meraldo, was pronounced dead at the Briarwood Family Residence at about 12:50 p.m on Thursday.
“This is a very disturbing case. The defendant allegedly became angry when the girl spilled lotion and struck her in the face and stomach. The woman then allegedly threw the child against a wall and struck her again. The defendant is now facing serious charges that could put her behind bars for the rest of her life,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a release Saturday.
Curry lived in a homeless shelter with her five children, police said. According to the criminal complaint, she became angry on Wednesday when she found the little girl squirting hand cream on the kitchen floor, hitting her in the stomach and face so hard that it dislodged a tooth.
The child allegedly cried and complained of pain in her abdomen but eventually fell asleep. The next morning, she woke up with a slight fever and continued to complain of stomach pains.
During a nap between 10 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, Curry allegedly checked on Linayjah, but she was unresponsive.
The Medical Examiner’s Office determined that she died of blunt force trauma to her torso, Brown said. An autopsy performed Friday showed internal injuries including multiple recently healed rib fractures, a torn small intestine, internal bleeding and extensive bruising. The office also said the child appeared malnourished.
Curry is awaiting arraignment.