NEW YORK (AP) — The mother of a 4-year-old girl found dead in her home beat the girl with a belt and box, prosecutors charged Saturday at the woman’s arraignment in Brooklyn.

Prosecutor Tracey Downing said Carlotta Brett-Pierce struck her daughter to punish her because the girl would “get up and eat from the fridge and make a mess,” the New York Post reported.

Brett-Pierce, 30, was arraigned on charges including assault and endangering the welfare of a child. She did not speak during the proceeding and bail was set at $300,000. There was no phone number listed under her name.

Police have said they made the arrest based on the condition of Marchella’s body. She appeared severely underweight, and marks on her ankles led investigators to believe she had been tied to her small bed in the corner of the mother’s room.

At the arraignment, Downing said investigators recovered a “video box with blood on it” from the home.

The girl, born with undersized lungs, had serious trouble breathing and had a breathing tube placed in her throat. She was found Thursday morning on her mother’s bed.

Police say Brett-Pierce called 911 around 7:30 a.m. after checking on her daughter and finding her cold and unconscious. She tried to resuscitate Marchella, but was not successful.

Two boys at the Brooklyn apartment, ages 5 and 9 months, appeared healthy. They’ve been placed in foster care.

Before the arrest was announced, the girl’s father, who did not live at the home, told NY1 he didn’t believe the mother would ever harm Marchella.

“I don’t think she hurt her kids or anything like that,” Tyrone Pierce told reporters. “I’ve been with her for a while. I’ve never seen her physically harm her kids or anything like that … that’s ludicrous.”

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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