EAST NEW YORK — Heartbroken relatives of the 4-year-old girl found beaten to death last week remembered her as a “princess," as the investigation into her death continued Tuesday.
Halii McCord was found unconscious Nov. 6 with bruises on her body. She was rushed to Brookdale Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, cops said.
The Medical Examiner's office ruled Halii's death a homicide on Monday and said she died of blunt trauma to the torso.
“She was the life of the party,” said Halii’s great-grandmother, Hazel McLaughlin, 69. “She was real fun. She’d swing her hands all day in front of the TV and dance.
"She wanted to be a princess," she added.
The girl’s mother, Alicia McLaughlin, and her unidentified boyfriend were grilled by police Monday, sources told DNAinfo.com New York.
McLaughlin told cops that the 23-year-old boyfriend struck Halii the night before she was discovered because she had refused to do homework with him, sources added.
A next-door neighbor, who refused to give her name, said she heard fighting coming from the apartment that night.
“It was like someone was being thrown up against the wall,” said the 41-year-old neighbor. “I heard a man saying ‘Get up, get up.’”
But cops said McLaughlin’s story is inconsistent.
Cops haven't charged McLaughlin or her boyfriend, sources said, and police said Tuesday no one was in custody.
In the days after Halii was killed, McLaughlin took to Facebook to defend herself and describe her agony.
"Why did you have to go so soon" she wrote on Nov. 8. "I just want my baby."
Relatives, meanwhile, said Halii’s funeral was scheduled for Wednesday.
“I don’t even know how I’m gonna be able to get through this,” said Halii’s great-aunt Rachel McLaughlin, 41, fighting back tears.
Halii was raised with relatives in their Euclid Avenue home until Alicia McLaughlin moved a few months ago to Linden Boulevard, where the child was killed.
“We raised her here," Rachel McLaughlin added. "There’s no words.”
Rachel McLaughlin said she last saw her grandniece about 10 days ago.
“She kept saying, ‘Aunty, aunty, aunty, aunty,’” she said. “She always had a tight grip when she hugged me. She would not let me go.”