Bronx Woman Charged With Murder in Death of Her 6-Year-Old Daughter

A Bronx woman has been charged with murder in the death of her 6-year-old daughter, who was found bruised and unconscious at her family’s Bronx apartment last year, law enforcement authorities said.

The woman, Lynija Eason Kumar, 27, was also charged with two counts of manslaughter in the death of the girl, Jalayah Eason, who had bruises on her wrists and torso when police officers arrived at her home on May 26, 2023, officials said.

The cause of death was unclear at the time, but the New York City medical examiner’s office classified it as a homicide in February. Jalayah died as a result of blunt-force injuries, malnourishment and positional asphyxia, a spokeswoman for the office said on Friday.

Ms. Eason Kumar pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment on Friday in Bronx Criminal Court and was ordered held without bail. A lawyer for Ms. Eason Kumar did not respond to a request for comment.

Jalayah died after Ms. Eason Kumar tied the girl’s hands and feet together, hung her in a closet and struck her repeatedly with a hard object, according to court documents. When police officers found Jalayah, her body was bruised and scarred, there were ligature marks on her wrists, the documents say.

At the time of her daughter’s death, Ms. Eason Kumar was charged with endangering the welfare of her other children, an 8-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, and the city’s Administration for Children’s Services took custody of the two.

Ms. Eason Kumar was at a hospital on Friday and was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman for the Bronx district attorney.

Officers found Jalayah after responding to a 911 call of an unconscious child shortly before 4 a.m. at a public housing complex in the Morrisania neighborhood.

When the officers arrived, Ms. Eason Kumar was performing CPR on the girl, a law enforcement official said at the time. Jalayah was taken to Lincoln Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

The officers found large amounts of soiled clothing and linen at the apartment, and piles of open food containers covering the floors, prosecutors said. There was also rotten food in the cabinets and refrigerator, the apartment was infested with insects and it smelled of feces and urine, according to court documents.

Ms. Eason Kumar had been the subject of an abuse and neglect report related to Jalayah’s older brother in 2022, according to a person who had viewed some of Ms. Eason Kumar’s social service records and discussed the case with The New York Times last year on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to do so.

The brother’s school reported that he had come to school with his face swollen and bruised and that he had told a teacher his mother had punched and kicked him for drinking from the sink, according to the person who had viewed the social service records. He was also absent from school most days, was often picked up an hour after dismissal and wore the same dirty clothes for days at a time, the school reported.

Jalayah’s brother continued to be frequently absent from school, but months later, the children’s services agency closed the abuse and neglect case as unfounded, according to the person who had seen the records.

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