3-Year-Old Bushwick Girl's Death from Overheating Ruled a Homicide

By Gustavo Solis and Ben Fractenberg  on January 16, 2014 3:37pm  | Updated on January 16, 2014 5:59pm

 The death of 3-year-old Tiana Mills, who passed away inside 1387 Decatur Street from hyperthermia last June, has been ruled a homicide.
The death of 3-year-old Tiana Mills, who passed away inside 1387 Decatur Street from hyperthermia last June, has been ruled a homicide.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

BROOKLYN — The death of a 3-year-old girl who was found starving and overheated on a hot summer day last June has been ruled a homicide, the city Medical Examiner's Office said. 

Tiana Mills, who had been monitored by the city's Administration for Children's Services at one point in her short life, died of hyperthermia brought on by dehydration and malnourishment, according to the medical examiner's report.

It was not clear why the autopsy results took so long, but occasionally toxicology results and tissue testing take additional time and new information comes to light.

The ruling comes on the heels of the death of Myls Dobson, a 4-year-old boy who was tortured and starved in Midtown.

Tiana was in an apartment on Decatur Street near Irving Avenue in Bushwick on June 23 when her grandmother found her lying face down on a bed in the 91-degree heat, the New York Daily News reported.

She was mourned by family and friends soon after.

"What a day getting ready for a funeral for my niece tiana mills R.I.P baby girl," wrote her uncle Philip Simmons on his Facebook page on July 4.

A next door neighbor said the little girl, who has a twin sister, looked OK on the morning she died.

"She smiled. She seem okay," said Jackie Maldanado, 32. "I'm a mother and if I had noticied anything wrong I would have told her father."

Maldanado described Tiana as playful and "sassy."

She added that the girl's grandmother, who lived in a basement apartment in the building, would look after the twins while her father worked at night.

"They were very church-going people," Maldanado said.

Police questioned Tiana’s father, Errol Mills, 36, who had full custody of the girl, and Tiana’s 54-year-old grandmother, after the death but no one was charged, police sources told the News.

“When we confront a tragedy like this, we work to ensure that no stone is left unturned," ACS said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

"The Administration for Children’s Service is working in close cooperation with the District Attorney’s Office in this ongoing investigation to learn the circumstances that led to the sad death of this little girl.”

The agency cited confidentiality laws in not disclosing further details of the case. The NYPD and DA's office declined to speak about the specifics of the case.

Errol Mills received fully custody of Tiana in December of 2011 after ACS determined her mother was an unfit parent, according to the News.

It was not clear if Tiana's case with ACS was active at the time of her death.

No one answered the door at the Mills' home Thursday.

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