Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022

Horrific death of 9-year-old Brooklyn girl deemed homicide, mom charged in case

Horrific death of 9-year-old Brooklyn girl deemed homicide, mom charged in case

A 9-year-old girl found dead in her Brooklyn home with a head injury and bite marks on her back had been disciplined by her angry mother — who now faces murder charges, police sources said Monday.

“Mommy spanked her and put her in timeout,” two police sources familiar with the case quoted an older sibling telling officers who on Sunday afternoon found the victim, Shalom Guifarro, dead in the family apartment on Lincoln Place near Franklin Ave. in Crown Heights.

Shalom’s mother, Shemene Cato, 48, was arrested on murder, manslaughter, assault, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possession of weapon charges. She awaits arraignment in Brooklyn Criminal Court.

Cops are processing three items for potential forensic clues: a branch found in the girl’s bedroom, a “curved piece” of furniture and an extension cord found in the apartment hallway, police sources said.

Investigators believe the extension cord was the murder weapon.

Shalom’s back was badly bruised and the left side of her head and her left ear were swollen. Her knuckles were also bruised, sources said.

Shalom’s mother works for the city’s Human Resources Administration, sources said.

She was taken into custody for questioning and has retained a lawyer from her union. No charges have been filed.

The victim’s older sibling was taken into ACS custody, a source said.

“Our top priority is protecting the safety and well-being of New York City’s children,” a spokesperson for the Administration for Children’s Services said. “We are investigating this case with the NYPD, and we have taken action to secure the safety of the other child in this home.”

The mother has been the subject of prior domestic complaints to police, though they do not appear to have involved Shalom, sources said.

The mother called 911 about 1 p.m. saying her daughter wasn’t breathing, the sources said.

The victim’s 13-year-old sister told cops the mother had a temper tantrum and punished Shalom by spanking her and putting her in timeout.

The teen and the mom then went to the kitchen to eat and afterward found Shalom unconscious.

Neighbors told police they routinely heard arguing from inside the apartment.

The owner of Memphis Seoul, the restaurant below the apartment, said he returned from delivering a catering order about 12:30 p.m. when his employees informed him they noticed a foul odor.

“I had to think about my customers so I called the super,” said Bart Hubbuch. “One of the cops that was here earlier told me that the little girl had been dead since 6 or 8 a.m. and the mother had not reported it.”

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