The mother of a 9-year-old girl who was found dead inside a Brooklyn apartment was arraigned on a slew charges including murder and assault on Tuesday, and some of the jarring details of her alleged abuse were shared for the first time.
Shemene Cato was remanded at Kings County Criminal Court after the charges she faces were laid out before the court. In addition to murder and assault, she stands accused of manslaughter, weapon possession and endangering the welfare of a child.
Court documents broke down what allegedly happened the morning of May 15, when the 48-year-old Cato allegedly went on an attack that ultimately claimed the life of 9-year-old Shalom Guifarro, her youngest daughter.
Around 8 a.m., the mother beat both of her daughters with an electrical cord and a broom, in an assault that went on for about two hours, according to prosecutors.
As she tried to hide and escape the abuse inside their Crown Heights home, little Shalom crawled under a bed to hide. However, Cato picked the bed up and went to pull the child out from underneath, court documents state. As she went to do that, however, she dropped the bed, causing one of the legs to fall off.
That caused the bed to land on Shalom's head, prosecutors said. She also allegedly suffered other cuts and bruises on the lower half of her body as well. The medical examiner later found that multiple blunt force impact injuries to Shalom's face, head and body, which led to internal bleeding and ultimately killed her, documents state.
Attorney information for Cato was not immediately available. The mother was initially questioned by police on Sunday, but was released before being arrested Monday afternoon after the case was ruled a homicide by the city's medical examiner.
Neighbors near the home off Lincoln Place where the girl was found said a foul odor was coming from the home before police arrived around 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Administration for Children's Protective Services says it is investigating.
"Our top priority is protecting the safety and well-being of New York City's children. We are investigating this case with the NYPD, and we have taken action to secure the safety of the other child in this home," an ACS spokesperson said.