Queens Mother Charged in Alleged Beating Death of Toddler

An autopsy report found the 2-year-old girl had cuts, bruises and scars consistent with abusive head trauma

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Queens mother has been charged with murder in the death of her toddler daughter, prosecutors say. 

    Ashley Diaz, a 28-year-old mother of five, of Far Rockaway is accused of beating her young daughter to death.

    Police were called to Diaz's home Monday night and found her 2-year-old daughter Kevasia unconscious and unresponsive, prosecutors said. 

    The child was was taken to St. John's Episcopal Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

    Police Investigate Queens Toddler's Death

    [NY] Police Investigate Queens Toddler's Death
    Officers found a 2-year-old girl unconscious Monday night at her family's Queens apartment. Roseanne Colletti reports.

    Prosecutors say Diaz had a neighbor watch her sleeping toddler for about 20 minutes on Monday evening while she went to buy food. The neighbor later told authorities that the girl seemed pale and lethargic. 

    Later that night, the neighbor received a call from Diaz saying her daughter wasn't breathing and wasn't responsive, prosecutors say. The neighbor returned to Diaz's apartment to find the toddler's face red and bruised, her lip bleeding and her teeth pushed out and jutting in different directions and missing. 

    The neighbor performed CPR on the girl while her sister called 911. 

    Kevasia arrived at the hospital in cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead just after midnight, prosecutors say. The child allegedly had old and fresh bruising on her face, legs and torso, two rib fractures and scarring on her right foot consistent with a previous burn. 

    An autopsy report from the medical examiner's office found the bruises, cuts and burns were "consistent with abusive head trauma with multiple, violent impacts to her head and body."

    Diaz pleaded not guilty Thursday. Her lawyer said the bruising on the girl's mouth may have been from the neighbor giving her CPR. 

    "Ashley is a good mother," her lawyer said.

    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.

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