New York City police arrested a Queens man Tuesday in connection with the beating death of his 3-year-old stepdaughter, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
According to the New York Daily News, Marc Jenkins, 32, was charged with murder and assault charges after an autopsy determined that Bella Edwards died Monday from blunt force trauma to her abdomen.
Law enforcement sources told the newspaper that additional tests are pending and it hasn’t been determined whether Edwards was sexually abused.
WPIX reported that police were called to an apartment on Beach 105th Street near Shore Front Parkway Monday night, where they found the unresponsive girl. Jenkins was allegedly spotted performing CPR on her.
According to AMNY, EMT crews also performed CPR on Edwards but were unable to revive her. The toddler was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
WABC reported that Edwards’ 3-month-old sibling, whom Jenkins was also watching at the time, was taken to the hospital for evaluation. That child’s condition is unavailable at this time.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown revealed that Jenkins lived with the child’s mother, Shamikaa Gonzalez, and was watching Edwards and the toddler’s 3-month-old sibling for eight hours on Monday.
“This is a terribly disturbing case. The victim here is an innocent little girl, whose body revealed traumatic abuse injuries,” Brown said in a statement.
It’s not immediately known where the children’s mother was when the incident occurred. However, she told the Daily News that she left the Queens apartment at around 9 a.m. and returned at 5 p.m. to find her daughter unconscious in her bed a half-hour later.
Though it’s unclear whether Gonzalez will face charges, reports indicated that police questioned her and that she won’t be given custody of her infant child until authorities complete their investigation.
“Bella, I’m so sorry I wasn’t there to protect you,” Gonzalez wrote on Facebook, according to WABC.
“This feels like a bad dream I can’t wake up from. You was loved by everyone and shared so many funny memories. I’m going to miss all the times you kissed and hugged me every day.”
[Featured Image: Bella Edwards/WPIX]