The Queens District Attorney’s office hit Mark Jenkins — the stepfather of little Bella Edwards — with murder and assault charges, after an autopsy showed the tot died Monday from blunt force trauma to her stomach.
Other medical tests on Bella’s body are still pending, and police have not ruled out the possibility of sexual abuse, cop sources said.
Bella’s mom Shamika Gonzalez said on social media that she’ll most miss her little girl’s hugs and kisses.
“I’m so sorry I wasn’t there to protect you,” Gonzalez said in an emotional Facebook post to the child.
“Bella was a friendly, beautiful, affectionate, smart and loveable and the best daughter anyone can ask for,” Gonzalez said in a message to the Daily News. “She … was (a) very affectionate sister to her baby brother Logan. She was loved by many who came to know her.”
Gonzalez left the apartment at about 9 a.m. She returned about 5 p.m. and found Bella unconscious in her bed about a half-hour later, sources said.
A frantic 911 call around 6 p.m. brought cops to Gonzalez’s Rockaways apartment, where officers frantically tried to revive the unconscious toddler.
Cops rushed Bella from the family’s Beach 105th St. apartment near Shore Front Parkway to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where she died, police said.
The girl showed signs of trauma consistent with abuse, sources said. The NYPD Special Victims Unit is investigating her death, as are detectives from the 100th Precinct, where a number of family members gathered in grief.
“Keep my family in your prayers,” said Quintina Thorne, 28, a cousin. “Justice for Bella! Justice for Bella!”
The 32-year-old stepfather was the only adult with Bella for most of the day, police sources said. Jenkins, according to records, has four previous arrests. Three of them are sealed but he was convicted of attempted murder, in the Bronx and served 5 years in prison before he was conditionally released by the state Board of Parole in Sept. 2011.
“This is a terribly disturbing case. The victim here is an innocent little girl, whose body revealed traumatic abuse injuries,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Neighbor Laura Cabrera, 36, said she had just seen Bella on Easter Sunday. Jenkins was holding her hand, she said.
“I just told (Bella) how beautiful she was,” Cabrera said, crying, as she recalled the happy memory. “She said ‘thank you’ in the sweetest little voice. She was such a beautiful kid. You focused on her.”
The city’s Administration of Children’s Services has never investigated complaints of abuse against Bella, until now, sources with knowledge of the case said.
“As soon as this family came to our attention last night, we immediately launched an investigation with the NYPD,” ACS spokesman Eric Ferrero said.
Bella died Monday in the Rockaways apartment after police said she was found unconscious.
Gonzalez said a vigil outside their home was slated for 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Police said a 3-month-old baby was also found in the apartment. Medics took the infant to a hospital for evaluation.
The child won’t be returned to Gonzalez until after the investigation is concluded, officials said.
On – 03 Apr, 2018 By Array