The body of a 2-year-old girl was found in a burnt-out apartment in Brooklyn, killed by a fire started after the child’s mother allegedly left her home alone.
Authorities say 20-year-old Leila Aquino claimed she decided to “go out with friends” on Monday night, but instead of arranging for a babysitter, Police say Aquino left her toddler alone locked in her room in the apartment.
The fire apparently broke out at around 6:50AM on February 23. Firefighters initially thought no one was injured in the blaze, but just before 10AM, Aquino showed up and told officials her daughter was still in the apartment.
First responders found the body of little Kaleenah Muldrow under a bed in her room.
A faulty space heater is thought to be the cause of the blaze, but a final determination has not yet been made.
Police say they don’t believe the mother’s story and told the media they believe Aquino was working in a strip club from Monday night into Tuesday morning. The woman denied the claim, saying she had gone out drinking with friends. Police also say Aquino’s acquaintances that night said she told them the child was home with a babysitter.
However, according to ABC 7 New York, the mother’s babysitter told police she hadn’t done any babysitting for the child recently.
The victim’s father, Kason Muldrow, said the incident was a nightmare.
“I’m just here just like a dream, it’s like a nightmare, like a nightmare to me,” he told the media.
Muldrow, who does not live with Aquino, also told police Aquino had informed him the child had a babysitter that night.
“That’s what she said … but who is to say there was really a sitter?” Muldrow told WABC. “I’m not 100 percent convinced she ever had a sitter.”
Aquino has been charged with reckless endangerment as well as endangering the welfare of a child, but child services are also looking into the history of the woman who may have had a habit of leaving the child home alone and without a babysitter.
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