Death of gaunt NYC tot ruled homicide; mom charged

AP News
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Posted: Oct 29, 2010 7:20 PM
Death of gaunt NYC tot ruled homicide; mom charged

The death of an emaciated 4-year-old girl found in her New York City home last month has been ruled a homicide.

The city medical examiner's office said Friday that Marchella Pierce died of child abuse syndrome, including acute drug poisoning, blunt impact injuries, malnutrition and dehydration. They say she had antihistamines, including Benadryl, in her system.

Her mother, Carlotta Brett-Pierce, has been charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child and drug possession. Prosecutors say more charges could be added.

Her lawyer didn't return a message.

The Administration for Children's Services, subcontractors and others responsible for monitoring the girl are under criminal investigation. The agency has said it's cooperating.

Marchella weighed 18 pounds when she died Sept. 2.