NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Queens woman was arrested Monday on charges she killed her 2-year-old son three days earlier, according to police.
Around 5 p.m. Friday, police were called to an apartment on Jewel Avenue in the Pomonok section of the borough on a report of an unconscious baby, police said.
When cops arrived, they found 2-year-old Izayaha Hall unconscious and unresponsive, police said. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon Reports
The child’s mother, 29-year-old Afriyie Gaspard, told police her son had stopped breathing, but the Medical Examiner determined that foul play was involved. Over the weekend, the death was ruled a homicide, police said.
Authorities said Gaspard strangled her son because he had been crying too much. She was charged with murder and manslaughter.
However, Stephanie Gaspard, the sister of the accused woman, said Afriyie Gaspard was a “patient, loving” mother and was employed at a nearby store. She said her sister told her the boy “just stopped moving” when she went to check on him.
“She patted him. He wasn’t moving. She patted him again, she called his name and he didn’t move. She went to pick him up and he was stiff. She didn’t hear him breathing, so she called 911,” Stephanie Gaspard told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.
Neighbors said Afriyie Gaspard was an overwhelmed mother of eight, whose kids had been taken by the Administration for Children’s Services before. Neighbors said the children were often left unattended in the courtyard of the housing complex where they lived.
“She could have had someone follow up on her to see how she’s doing mentally. It’s overwhelming when you have one,”one neighbor told 1010 WINS’ Rincon.
The children’s father does not live with the accused woman, but has often been seen with them, according to neighbors. Neighbors said Afriyie Gaspard never yelled or hit her children.
Five of Afriyie Gaspard’s children, including two 5-year-olds, a 7-year-old, a 3-month-old and 10-month-old — were taken by ACS, according to law enforcement sources.
Afriyie Gaspard also has a prior arrest in 2007 for endangering the welfare of a child when one child was found unsupervised in the street and two children were found home alone.
An ACS statement said that they along with the NYPD are “investigating the circumstances that led to the tragic death of a 2-year old boy.”
“We offer our deepest sympathy to the child’s family. The boy’s siblings are now in our care and we are ensuring that they receive services to address their loss,” the statement read.
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