NYC Public Advocate Probes Death of Tiny 4-Year-Old

Mother charged with assault; child may have been tied to bed

Friday, Sep 10, 2010  |  Updated 7:50 AM EDT
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Carlotta Brett-Pierce (inset) was arrested in connection with the death of her 4-year-old daughter.

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New York City's public advocate has begun an inquiry into whether the death of a 4-year-old girl could have been prevented.

Among other things, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio wants to know whether a decision to reduce family services contributed to the Sept. 2 death of Marchella Pierce.

Prosecutors allege Marchella was beaten. Police said she appeared severely underweight and may have been tied to a bed. She was born with lung problems.

A Brooklyn grand jury has indicted her mother on second-degree assault charges.

The Administration for Children's Services ended its contract with the organization that aided the family. De Blasio says that between April and July, about 5,000 fewer children were receiving preventive services.

The ACS is also reviewing the case.

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