A 1-year-old New York girl reportedly died in her parents’ care last month, days after a family court judge ruled she could remain in the home despite a documented history of abuse.
The New York Times reported that Ella Vitalis was in cardiac arrest when she was brought to a Brooklyn hospital on September 15. Vitalis — who allegedly also had a brain bleed, a skull fracture, forehead lacerations, a broken jaw, and bite marks — was on life support for five days before her death on September 20.
A day before the deadly ordeal, Judge Erik S. Pitchal ordered Vitalis and her older brother to remain in their parents’ care. The children were placed in foster care with relatives after both of them were hospitalized following an August 2022 domestic violence incident involving their parents, according to The New York Times.
At that time, Vitalis’ mother was said to have pushed the father as he held their then-2-year-old son, leading him to hit his head. Vitalis was 3 weeks old at the time.
Vitalis was hospitalized weeks later for a tongue laceration which authorities suggested occurred when her parents visited her in foster care. Vitalis’ mother allegedly claimed she left the father alone with the baby and returned to find her with a mouth full of blood. A doctor determined that a sharp object caused the injuries, The New York Times reported.
Children’s Services substantiated the abuse allegations last year, leading Vitalis and her brother to remain in foster care. However, a source told The New York Times that Judge Pitchal ruled on June 15, 2023, for the children to be returned to their parents on a trial basis. Judge Pitchal reportedly denied Children’s Services’ request for the children to remain in foster care with relatives with their parents being given supervised visits.
Vitalis’ parents allegedly failed to bring their daughter to five follow-up appointments after that June hearing. The New York Times reported that Judge Pitchal still kept Vitalis and her brother in their parents’ care during a hearing on September 14 — a day before Vitalis was found with the injuries that led to her death.
Vitalis’ mother allegedly attributed the fatal injuries to her drinking too much milk. The New York Times reported that no arrests have been made despite police investigating Vitalis’ death as a homicide.
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[Featured image: Judge Erik Pitchal/National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges]
Post source: Crime Online