A 4-year-old Philadelphia girl endured "horrific" abuse and was "killed brutally" by the person her mother trusted to care for the young child, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.
Samilya Brown, 38, was charged with murder, endangering the welfare of a child and related charges in the Oct. 30 death of Zya Singleton, according to the DA's office.
“That's not the truth,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said Tuesday. "The truth is that this child was killed, and killed brutally, and was abused for an extensive period of time."
The Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office found bite marks, cigarette burns and open wounds on her face and scalp. She also had puncture wounds throughout her body and showed signs of being malnourished.
Zya suffered multiple facial injuries and spent nearly a week in the hospital before eventually succumbing to her injuries.
Investigators do not believe the little girl fell from a window but instead died from abuse and neglect.
"This is a horrific, heartbreaking case of abuse, neglect and murder of an innocent, defenseless child," Krasner said.
Brown is the godsister of Zya's mother, Jasmine Singleton. She is also married to Singleton's stepbrother.
Singleton spoke to NBC10 about her daughter's death Tuesday evening.
"I blame myself to be honest," she said. "I deal with this everyday but no one will understand the pain that I go through everyday knowing that I will never see my daughter again."
Family members referred to Brown as Zya's "guardian." Singleton told NBC10 she made an agreement with Brown two years ago, solidified with a notarized letter, giving her custody of the girl.
Singleton said the terms of the agreement were for her to get her daughter back after she got her life together. She told NBC10 she had been looking for Zya for the past year.
"I want to know why you did this to my kid," Singleton said. "Because at the end of the day, that was my daughter. She has brothers and sisters out here that will never see her again."
Brown's own biological children have since been removed from her care by the Department of Human Services.