David Goodman and Ashley Southall from the New York Times report Ashley Diaz, 28, is charged with first-degree assault and second-degree murder. Kevasia Edwards, 2, died at the St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway just after midnight. The medical examiner found broken ribs, abrasions, signs of malnutrition and “prolonged abuse.” Did the New York City mother murder her own child?
Neighbor, Latoya Murphy, watched the girl for a short time during that evening. When the mother of Kevasia Edwards came back, Murphy left but soon returned after Ms. Diaz called to tell her there was something wrong with the child. The neighbor states that when she first saw Kevasia, however, she had already been lethargic.
After returning to Diaz and Kevasia, Murphy reports the child’s mouth showed sings of trauma, which she noticed as she performed CPR. Some teeth were missing, and others were pushed in a direction, or damaged in some way. The child’s lip was bleeding. The woman said, “It was too late. She was gone.”
Ms. Diaz told the authorities the child was a normal and healthy girl who had a seizure that night, and hurt herself. She claims it wasn’t the first time her daughter had a seizure. Just last December in Spring Valley, New York a mother was charged with murdering her child, and dumping her at a recycling plant. The woman confessed. In April, 2013 a New York City cop was reported as mother and murderer to her child, boyfriend, and self. Her older son had escaped.
Kevasia’s home environment was reportedly unstable. The New York Times reports that nine calls for domestic complaints were placed to the police department in the past two years. Sources with ABC say there had been four complaints since 2011, one linked to Kevasia’s father. Diaz was arrested in 2008 for assault and in 2011 for menacing or harassment.
If convicted of this crime, Ashley Diaz will likely spend the rest of her life in prison. The autopsy report signifies trauma to the child’s skull and body. Broken ribs were also present among other injuries. A District Attorney makes a statement presuming the guilt of the defendant.
The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) has investigated the family in the past. The ACS has a mission to protect children from neglect and abuse. This is a government agency that offers neighborhood relations and services. Early Care and Education (ECE) is the city’s largest publicly-funded childcare system. The ECE takes components of Head Start and Universal Pre-K to provide quality education to children between six weeks and four years old.
The ECE also provides Child Protection and Placement services and family court legal services. One of the ACS’s five “key commitments” is: “No child we come into contact with will be left to struggle alone with abuse and neglect.”
If this group indeed investigated Diaz, the question that is raised would be regarding the agency’s thoroughness. The criminal justice system has already begun due process, and the public will find out whether the New York City mother actually murdered her child as time moves forward.
By Lindsey Alexander