New York

Brutalized 1-Year-Old NYC Twin Died of ‘Fatal Child Abuse Syndrome,' Medical Examiner Says

The 30-year-old mother was arrested last year on an assault charge; it's not clear if the charges will be upgraded

What to Know

  • Tina Torabi, 30, of Queens, was accused of assault after her twin toddlers were found seriously hurt Oct. 3; one later died
  • The death of the 1-year-old girl, Elaina, was ruled a homicide Tuesday; it wasn't clear if prosecutors would seek upgraded charges
  • The case cast a pall over the city for its apparent brutality; the twins' father jumped to his death from a hotel days after Elaina died

The death of a 1-year-old girl who appeared to have been horribly beaten when she was found unconscious in her Queens home last October along with her twin brother, who was also badly hurt, has officially been ruled a homicide. 

The medical examiner's office said Tuesday that the cause of death for little Elaina Torabi was "fatal child abuse syndrome," which is the term used when a child sustains injuries over a period of time. The mother of the twins, 30-year-old Tina Torabi, was arrested last year on charges of assault, reckless endangerment and child endangerment charges. It wasn't immediately clear if prosecutors would seek to upgrade those charges given the homicide ruling. 

The case cast a pall over the city. The father of the twins jumped to his death from a midtown Manhattan hotel days after they were hospitalized. Cops had wanted to question him. For her part, Torabi's only response to reporter questions about whether she hurt her kids was a shake of the head to say "no." 

Elaina died soon after being taken to the hospital on Oct. 3. Elaina's twin brother, Kian, was in the intensive care unit. It's not clear how long he remained hospitalized; there was no update on his condition Tuesday. 

The district attorney's office said police found a filthy basement apartment where the mother, the twins and three other children lived. Prosecutors said a butcher knife was out, there was a cough syrup bottle on the floor, and other bottles and garbage strewn about. They also described a dirty mattress without covers, a filthy fridge and even dirty car seat on the floor. 

They did not, however, spell out exactly what happened to the twin toddlers that led to the multiple scratches, fractures and internal injuries found on both of their bodies. Law enforcement sources previously told News 4 that the girl had a puncture wound laceration to the back of her head, and a laceration to her stomach, as well as cigarette burns. The boy, meanwhile, has several cracked ribs and a fractured pelvis, contusions on his lungs, a healing bite mark and other injuries, according to the district attorney's office.

Torabi's three other daughters inside the home, ages 2, 4, and 5, were not hurt. They were brought into the custody of the Administration for Children's Services.

In October, Torabi's defense attorney told reporters that she was a victim of domestic violence, and that ACS had been to the home recently and never documented any injuries. He declined to comment beyond that, saying, "We'll see what happens in court." 

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