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November 13, 2019

Philadelphia caretaker charged in the death of 4-year-old who suffered 'horrific' abuse

The girl, Zya Singleton, died after falling out a second-floor window, but investigators allege they found bite marks, burns and puncture wounds on the girls body

Crime Homicide
Caretaker homicide 4-year-old Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Samilya Brown, 38, of Fairmount was charged with the murder of Zya Singleton, 4. The child allegedly suffered 'horrific' abuse, including burn marks, malnourishment, and was even treated with homemade stitches.

A 4-year-old girl who died after falling out of a second-story window allegedly suffered "horrific" abuse at the hands of her caretaker, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said.

Samilya Brown, 38, of the city's Fairmount neighborhood, is charged with murder, endangering the welfare of a child and other related offenses, Krasner announced Tuesday. 

The girl, Zya Singleton, died Nov. 3. She had been in Brown's care at the time of the incident on Oct. 30. Brown told police Singleton had been playing with her cat before she fell out of  the second-floor bedroom window, but investigators said upon examining the child, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found inconsistencies with Brown's report.

The medical examiner's report detailed alleged evidence Singleton had been abused, the district attorney's office said. That included bite marks, open wounds on her face and scalp, cigarette burns on her arm and leg, puncture wounds and signs the girl was malnourished.

The medical examiner also described that the girl had wounds that had been treated with homemade stitches, the district attorney's office said.

"This is a horrific, heartbreaking case of abuse, neglect, and murder of an innocent, defenseless child," Krasner said. "All children deserve care, protection, and love – no matter the circumstances of how they come into this world."

Jasmine Singleton, the child's mother, had given Brown full custody of her daughter two years ago with a notarized letter, according to a report by NBC10. Brown is married to Singleton's step-brother.

Suspected child abuse can be reported to the Philadelphia police at (215)-686-TIPS (8477), the Philadelphia District Attorney's office at (215) 686-9608, Pennsylvania Department of Human Resources at (215) 683-6100 or the Pennsylvania ChildLine at (800) 932-0313. 

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