A licensed practical nurse from Queens has been charged with murder in the death of a severely developmentally disabled 23-month-old girl she was hired to care for who was taken to the hospital with burns over about 50 percent of her body several days after a bath, authorities said.
Oluyemisi Adebayo, 54, was arrested Wednesday as she prepared to board a flight to Africa via London. The St. Albans woman was allegedly trying to flee to her home country of Nigeria, authorities said. A licensed practical nurse completes a lower standard of training than a registered nurse.
Naomi Mondesire, who was born prematurely, was a happy and thriving little girl but required the care of a nurse, her grandmother Gardite Mondesire told NBC 4 New York. Mondesire said Adebayo was only on the job two days when she allegedly drew the scalding hot bath that would kill the toddler.
Adebayo called Mondesire to say something had happened.
She said "she did something bad," said Mondesire. "After she look at the baby from the OR, she said it's bad."
According to a criminal complaint, Adebayo prepared a bath for the little girl, whom she was caring for at the child's home in Rosedale, April 21 and tested the tub water with her hand before placing the baby in the tub. When Adebayo took her out of the bath, she allegedly saw the skin was falling off the baby's legs, the complaint says. Three days later, doctors at Nassau University Medical Center performed surgery on the baby to treat second- and third-degree immersion scald burns over half her body.
"You could tell she was in severe pain," said Mondesire.
On Monday, the child died, and preliminary autopsy findings indicate complications of thermal injury -- or being submerged in scalding water -- killed her.
When detectives tested the faucet prosecutors say Adebayo said was used to fill the baby's tub, they found the maximum water temperature for it was 130 degrees. It would take about 120 seconds for the temperature to reach the maximum level, according to the criminal complaint.
Medical personnel told authorities Adebayo's account of how the baby was burned was inconsistent with the nature and severity of her injuries, according to the complaint. The baby allegedly would have had to have been submerged in 130-degree water for about 30 seconds to get the injuries she was treated for.
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Mondesire doesn't believe Adebayo tested the water, either.
"No, she just turned the faucet and put the baby there," she said.
Mondesire said she can't bear to think about the suffering her granddaughter went through before she died.
"Each time I'm thinking about, it's like what Naomi went through, from the time she was in the hot water up until her last day," she said.
Adebayo was remanded to jail after her arraignment Thursday; her lawyer said "no comment" and her relatives were silent as they left the courthouse.
A funeral will be held for Naomi on Saturday.
-- Ida Siegal contributed to this report.