Crime Mother charged in 2-year-old daughter's death says girl was harming herself
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The mother of a 2-year-old Whitman girl who died late last month appeared in court Friday and was held without bail.
Shaniqua Leonard, 29, is charged with reckless endangerment of a child in the death of Lyric Farrell.
Officials said Whitman police received a 911 call on Dec. 28 reporting an unresponsive 2-year-old girl in an apartment at 863 Washington St.
Lyric was initially taken to Brockton Hospital, but she was later flown to Boston Children's Hospital in critical condition, officials said. The district attorney's office said Lyric was declared brain-dead on Dec. 30 and was taken off life support the next day.
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The State Office of the Chief Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and will determine the manner and cause of the child's death.
In a statement, DCF said it was investigating Lyric's death in collaboration with law enforcement.
Sources told 5 Investigates the first responders found her unresponsive on a couch and wrapped in a blanket.
The sources said Lyric had head trauma and bruises in different stages of healing. Case documents show that a doctor at Boston Children's Hospital reported a subdural hemorrhage and investigators observed scratches on Lyric's face, neck, torso and back.
Leonard showed investigators two videos on her cellphone "she claimed depicted Lyric harming herself and odd behavior," state police wrote in a report. Investigators also said they retrieved video of the child in extreme distress, unable to move or eat.
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The document indicates that the videos were a factor in the decision to arrest her.
"Shaniqua Leonard was aware of and consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk as evidenced by the videos obtained from her cellphone," state police wrote. "The evidence shows that Lyric suffered a significant head injury and that her conditioned worsened between (Dec. 26) and (Dec. 28) when she ultimately stopped breathing, before Shaniqua Leonard attempted to get any medical aid for her."
Lyric's grandmother told NewsCenter 5 that the 2-year-old had been in foster care for much of her life. Lyric was the last of a large family of children to be returned to their mother five weeks ago, she said.
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