A woman charged with murder and other crimes in the death of her 4-year-old daughter, who was found unconscious at a Queens homeless shelter last week, was remanded without bail after her arraignment Monday.
It wasn't clear if Latoya Curry, 35, entered a plea and information on an attorney for her wasn't immediately available. She was arrested Friday and faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
According to a criminal complaint, Curry became enraged when she found her daughter, 4-year-old Linayjah Meraldo, squirting hand lotion on the floor of their apartment at the Briarwood Family Residence, a temporary housing shelter on 134th Street, Thursday. The angered Curry allegedly hit Meraldo in the face and stomach, then threw her against a wall and onto a bed.
Prosecutors said Curry flew into a rage Wednesday night, striking Meraldo so hard that she dislodged a tooth. They said the girl cried and said her stomach hurt but then fell asleep. In the morning, the girl awoke with a slight fever and later took a morning nap, but she didn't wake up, they said.
An autopsy showed Meraldo died of blunt force trauma to her torso and had internal injuries including multiple recent and healed rib fractures, a torn small intestine, internal bleeding and extensive bruising, prosecutors said. The autopsy noted she also appeared malnourished, prosecutors said.
There were no other adults living in the unit where the family was staying.
The mother initially told police Meraldo was involved in a physical altercation with a sibling -- "a tousling thing," she called it, according to the source familiar with the case. The source said the mother later said the child had fallen, and that the version of events she told investigators kept changing.
The family had lived at Briarwood for nearly a year.
The Department of Health and Human Services called Meraldo's death "terribly disturbing." The agency said in a statement it was working closely with police.
The child's death came less than a week after a 3-year-old girl was found dead in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, saying the girl died from blunt impact to her head and torso. Her 20-year-old stepfather was arrested on a murder charge.
After the Brooklyn girl's death, Mayor de Blasio called for a thorough investigation.
-- Melissa Russo contributed to this report.