PLAINVIEW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A disabled 8-year-old girl is dead after a possible murder-suicide attempt. Her mother is in the hospital, facing criminal charges in the girl’s death.
Neighbors describe 30-year-old Veronica Cirella as attentive and loving to her 8-year-old daughter, Julie. But police say Saturday morning, both mother and daughter were discovered on the floor of their Plainview home unconscious by the girl’s grandmother.
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Julie was dead. Her mother survived what police say may have been a suicide attempt. She was found with a cord around her neck.
“The grandchild could not be revived, however that child’s mother was brought to Nassau County Medical Center where we understand she is alive and conscious,” said Kevin Smith with Nassau County police.
The girl’s death came on the same day she was preparing to participate in a relative’s wedding as a flower girl. Her wheelchair had been decorated with flowers.
Relatives were seen rushing to the home to try to find out what happened.
The mother is now charged with second degree manslaughter, but police have offered no reason why.
“It appears right now that we have an undetermined homicide,” said Smith. “We don’t know what caused the death of the 8-year-old child. There are no outward signs of violence or any trauma to that child. So it’s still very much under investigation.”
“That breaks my heart,” said neighbor Tricia Kane. “It’s shocking something like this would happen in this area or just in general.”
Detectives are investigating the incident as a possible murder-suicide attempt. Family members say Julie had cerebral palsy and moved around in a wheelchair.
Police say Cirella will be arraigned at her bedside.
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