Reporting Carol D’Auria
NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) – A Queens woman who police said had a history of depression was charged Wednesday in the death of a little boy. She was accused of throwing the child off an apartment balcony, CBS 2′s Magee Hickey reports.
“Heartbreaking. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know how it happened,” said neighbor Jonathan Wang.
Wang’s 3-year-old son, Justin, used to play with 3-year-old Jerry Zhou, the toddler who police said died after being thrown from the seventh-floor balcony of a Flushing apartment building by an emotionally-distraught woman who lived with him.
The tragedy happened around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the 53-year-old woman, Xiao Cai, who lived with the little boy and his mother, got into an argument with her own daughter and, for some reason, threw the boy off of the balcony.
“She attempted thereafter to throw herself off but was pulled off by other people in the apartment. The woman is not related to the baby in any way. It is just a sad and tragic incident,” Brown told CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman.
The little boy’s mother was in the apartment at the time and neighbors said she ran to the sidewalk where the boy lay dying.
Neighbors said police have been called to the apartment before because Cai had previously shown signs of mental illness.
“She was always afraid people were trying to kill her, poison her. She had mental problems,” Wang said.
“If she had an illness, what are they doing for that? So sad for the child,” said neighbor Ailean Brown.
Cai, while under arrest, was hospitalized and undergoing psychiatric tests.
“I was speechless. I don’t know what else to say. I saw them put him on the stretcher,” another neighbor said. “No baby deserves to leave that soon.”