A 20-year-old New Jersey man allegedly beat his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter to death because she wouldn’t eat dinner, NJ.com reports.
Prosecutors on Thursday charged Najuquan Ross with murder in connection with the July death of the girl, Natalise “Kayla” Gunter.
The girl’s mother, Lucy Gunter, told investigators that she had returned from work when she saw Kayla had a deep cut on her forehead and was missing a tooth.
Gunter asked how the girl became injured and Ross reportedly admitted that he had beaten her because she didn’t want to have dinner while he was babysitting her and other children.
Ross said the girl lost the tooth in the midst of the beating as she was trying to defend herself.
Three days after the assault, Gunter found Kayla unresponsive in her room and called 911. Even though Ross told Gunter what had happened, Gunter reportedly told the emergency dispatcher that she did not know what was wrong with Kayla, the Courier-Post reports.
The girl was rushed to a hospital where she declared dead within an hour, as previously reported by CrimeOnline.
Officers and medical staff said they observed bruising and abrasions on the girl’s body.
Gunter was subsequently charged with endangering the welfare of a child and not getting medical attention fast enough.
Ross, the father of one of Gunter’s children, is in jail and is scheduled to have a court hearing on Tuesday.
Gunter was released from jail in late July after prosecutors failed to convince a judge that she was a flight risk.
Friends and family of Gunter have said she and her daughter were both victims of domestic violence.
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