A North Dakota woman is facing murder charges in connection with the death last year of her longtime friend’s toddler niece.
Valley News Live reports that 15-month-old Meka Ducheneaux spent four days on life support in November 2020, before she was pronounced dead. The toddler ended up on life support after spending time with her aunt’s friend, Brandi Adeleke, 35.
Meka lived with her primary caregiver, her aunt Amanda Carrillo. Carillo said that Adeleke invited Meka over to her house for a Halloween sleepover at her Fargo apartment; Carillo agreed since Adeleke had been reliable in the past.
As the weekend wrapped up, Carillo went by Adeleke’s house to retrieve Meka, but Adeleke reportedly said that her apartment had been infected with COVID-19, adding that the toddler needed to quarantine with her. She persuaded Carillo into letting the little girl stay longer.
A few weeks later, Adeleke allegedly went to Carillo’s house and informed that Meka was ill and at the hospital. Carillo said she rushed to the hospital to find social services workers and police officers by the toddler.
“They had brown paper evidence bags and rulers to measure the wounds and evidence recording equipment. I instantly got sick to my stomach. The individual we trusted with Meka’s care kept telling me ‘she’s just sick, Amanda, she’s just sick,” Carillo wrote on a GoFundMe page.
“I spoke to the detective and it became clear that Meka wasn’t just sick, she had been horribly abused, burned with chemicals, given alcohol, battered, and raped multiple ways.”
Authorities confirmed that Meka had numerous blunt force injuries on her body.
According to court documents, Adeleke told police that Meka went underwater while taking a bath and by the time she noticed, the baby was unconscious. Adeleke reportedly admitted to pinching and slapping the baby to wake her up. She claimed that the baby coughed briefly, then fell unresponsive again.
“First off, how high did you have the bath water? Second off, my niece knew how to sit down, she was already over a year. So I don’t believe that, not even a little bit,” Carillo said.
Police said the claims of COVID-19 infecting Adeleke’s apartment were not true.
Authorities arrested Adeleke on January 14, on murder and child abuse charges. She remains behind bars on a $1 million bail amount.
“I’m glad she’s behind bars and I hope she never sees the light of day again. I hope she thinks about this for the rest of her life and I hope it tortures her,” Carillo said.
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[Feature Photo: Meka Ducheneaux /GoFundMe]