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Far Rockaway Mom Charged in Beating Death of 2-Year-Old Daughter

By Katie Honan | February 5, 2014 9:25pm | Updated on February 6, 2014 2:23pm
 Kevasia Edwards, 2, was found dead with bruises around her mouth, police said.
Kevasia Edwards, 2, was found dead with bruises around her mouth, police said.
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DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

QUEENS — A Far Rockaway mother was charged Wednesday with the beating death of her baby daughter after the infant was found unresponsive inside her apartment with two broken ribs and broken teeth, the Queens District Attorney said.

Ashley Diaz, 28, was arrested on second-degree murder and assault in the death of 2-year-old Kevasia Edwards, who was found unconscious inside their Beach 56th Place apartment by a neighbor on Monday.

Prosecutors unveiled a litany of injuries that Kevasia suffered including internal bleeding, burns and broken bones. They also alleged that Diaz sat by for more than a half hour while her daughter was not breathing after having a seizure.

"[Diaz] has been charged with the death of her own child — a defenseless 2-year-old girl who suffered greatly in her short life," District Attorney Richard Brown said. "The actions of the defendant are totally incomprehensible."

Diaz, who claimed that CPR caused some of her daughter's injuries, left her daughter inside her apartment with neighbor, Latoya Murphy, for 20 minutes about 5:30 p.m. on Monday to go out and get food, according to Brown.

Murphy said Kevasia was sleeping at first and appeared lethargic when she woke up but didn't have any obvious signs of trauma on her face, the DA said.

Murphy went back to the apartment hours later after Diaz called her, and she found Kevasia lying on the floor, according to the prosecutor.

She when she tried giving the baby CPR she noticed Kevasia had bruises on her face, a bloody lip and missing and damaged teeth, the DA said.

Diaz admitted that she didn't give the girl CPR after she had a seizure at around 9:30 p.m. and also said her daughter had another seizure the previous day, Brown said.

In that case, she sat by her daughter for at least 30 minutes while her child was not breathing, according to the DA.

Kevasia was brought to St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway just after midnight Monday where doctors observed fresh bruising on her face, legs and torso; two rib fractures; scarring that is consistent with a prior burn and other injuries that didn't match up with Diaz's claim that her daughter had a seizure and fell, according to the DA.

The autopsy performed by the medical examiner said the young girl suffered internal bleeding, hemorrhaging throughout her body, two rib fractures and an underlying liver injury that was consistent with multiple violent impacts to her head and body.

The girl's mother has been investigated by the Administration for Children's Services multiple times in the past, including once in 2011 and three times in 2012, sources said.

Diaz pleaded not guilty on Thursday, according to NBC 4 New York, and her lawyer said the bruising around the girl's mouth came from an attempt at CPR.

"Ashley is a good mother," her lawyer said.