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Death of Baby Investigated by Police, DCFS

By  Geoff Ziezulewicz and Jen Sabella | November 26, 2012 7:56am | Updated on November 26, 2012 1:19pm

 Zaniya Gordon died in her aunt's home Sunday morning.
Zaniya Gordon died in her aunt's home Sunday morning.
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CHICAGO — A month-old infant whose family was already under investigation for allegedly neglecting her, was found dead in a bed on the South Side Sunday morning.

Zaniya Gordon was unresponsive when emergency workers responded to a house in the 1300 block of West 110th Place, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Zaniya's mother, Tar'a Turner, 23, told police she fed and changed the baby about 2 a.m. and put her back to bed, according to police.

When Turner woke about 6:40 a.m., Zaniya was unresponsive, she told police.  

Zaniya was pronounced dead about 7 a.m.

Turner was staying with the sister of Zaniya's father at the time of the baby's death.

"She brought me the baby. She said 'Make my baby breathe,'" Zaniya's aunt, Jessica Gordon, 32, said Monday. The girl was set to turn 2 months on Dec. 3, the aunt added.

Gordon said Turner is "like a sister" to her and that Turner and Zaniya spent the night at her house because it was too cold to walk home.

Dismissing published reports that the baby was found in a dog bed, Gordon said the baby was on a twin bed when she was found.

Turner also denied the dog bed report in front of her house Monday, but declined to comment further on her daughter's death.

Neighbor Willy Norrington, 60, lives across street from the home on 110th Place, and said the baby's aunt is a good neighbor who tried to look after the child and her mother.

He alleged, however, that Zaniya's mother had thrown dirty diapers onto the the roof of their neighbor's house.

Gordon said Turner loved Zaniya and was a good mother to her and her 2-year-old.

"It's unfortunate that she left us so soon," Gordon said.

The Department of Children and Family Services said there is a "pending allegation of neglect" involving Zaniya and her family, who live on the 11300 block of South May Street.

Another child from the home was placed in the care of relatives Sunday, said DCFS spokesman Jimmie Whitelow.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.