Mother-of-two charged with murder after authorities say she strangled her one-year-old daughter with a string of Halloween lights and then blamed the baby’s death on her two-year-old son.
Kristen DePasquale, 27, from Florida, was arrested on Monday on counts of first-degree murder and child neglect with great bodily harm after investigators with the Oviedo Police Department said they found inconsistencies in her version of events, reports Daily Mail.
At around 10pm last Thursday, police responded to DePasquale’s home on Covington Street in Oviedo after receiving a report of a child in cardiac arrest with something wrapped around her neck.
The woman told officers she left her one-year-old daughter, Mia Rice, and her two-year-old son in the living room in front of the television while she went to take a shower, according to an arrest reported cited by the Orlando Sentinel.
When she emerged from the bathroom about five minutes later, the mother stated she heard her young son apologising for hurting his sister and found the little girl unresponsive and partially hanging from a strand of pumpkin-shaped Halloween lights, according to Local 10.
DePasquale suggested that her toddler son might have been the culprit.
But according to detectives, DePasquale’s statements did not add up, including the fact that the shower in her home was dry, there were no wet towels in sight and her feet were dirty.
She was still wearing makeup and jewellery when police arrived, and she refused to submit to a drug test.
Responding officers tried to revive Mia and then rushed her to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead in the emergency room.
The medical examiner later ruled the girl’s death a homicide caused by strangulation, telling police that her injuries ‘appeared to be the result of more force than the slightly older brother could have made.’
The medical examiner made note of a mark on the back of Mia’s neck that allegedly indicated someone had used a device to tighten the string of lights, according to the report.
It would have taken four to six minutes to strangle the child with the decorations, she estimated.
A judge ordered that Kristen DePasquale’s son be released into the custody of his grandparents and barred the mother from visiting him without supervision.
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