What to Know
- A 3-year-old Queens girl died Monday after the NYPD said she was found inside an apartment building unconscious
- The girl's stepfather, Marc Jenkins, was arrested and charged with depraved murder in the case
- An autopsy later revealed that Bella Edwards died of blunt force trauma to her abdomen
The stepfather of a 3-year-old girl found not breathing in a Queens apartment building Monday evening is facing depraved murder charges in her death.
Marc Jenkins was arrested Tuesday in the death of Bella Edwards, who died after her mother and grandmother arrived at their home on Beach 105th Street in Rockaway Beach and discovered she wasn't breathing, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Brown said Jenkins was the only adult at the home in the eight hours before Edwards was found unconscious. The girl’s 3-month-old sibling was also home during that period.
Police said the girl's mother left the home to go to the doctor at around 7:30 a.m.; she returned at 6 p.m. and discovered her daughter unconscious. Jenkins called 911; sources said Monday the stepfather performed CPR on the girl’s body.
Edwards was pronounced dead on arrival at an area hospital, the NYPD said. Sources say there were signs that she may have been abused.
An autopsy later revealed she died of blunt force trauma to her abdomen.
“This is a terribly disturbing case," Brown said. “The victim here is an innocent little girl, whose body revealed traumatic abuse injuries. The defendant - who resided with the child’s mother - now faces the possibility of life imprisonment.”
Police added that there is video evidence of Jenkins returning to the house with Bella around 4:30 p.m., and she appeared to be in distress.
Jenkins was awaiting arraignment on Tuesday night. Attorney information for the man wasn't immediately available, but he didn't respond to reporters' questions while leaving a police precinct Tuesday evening.
He was sentenced to eight years in prison for attempted murder in 2006, according to officials. The NYPD said Wednesday that an ex-girlfriend of Jenkins told them he hadn't been violent.
Officials said the family has no history with the Administration for Children's Services. There has never been a complaint and ACS has never been to the house. The agency is now investigating.
Law enforcement sources also told News 4 there were at least two 911 calls for domestic incidents involving the suspect and the child's mother.
Edwards' mother addressed her death in a Facebook post Tuesday, saying in part, "Bella, I'm so sorry I wasn't there to protect you. This feels like a bad dream I can't wake up from."
A relative of the family, Quintina Thorne, told News 4, "Before the speculations and anything, just pray. It was a baby that was lost. Let's keep our eyes open and watch these kids."
"We're gonna remember her. We gonna get justice. It's not gonna end today, it's not end anytime soon until we know what happened," she said.
Thorne added on Tuesday night that Jenkins "was a stepfather, just like anybody else."
Neighbor Michelle Mevorach said Edwards was always smiling and "running and playing and jumping," and that her parents and grandmother "took such good care of her."
"They adored her," she said.