While most three year olds were watching Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies and all things Sesame Street, Bella Edwards was beating brutally beaten by a man who, some claimed, was her "step father". 32-year-old Mark Jenkins (ABSOLUTELY NO RELATION TO ME) was the only adult at their Queens apartment when he "found" Bella unconscious and unresponsive Monday at 6pm. The police reports say that he had been alone with Bella, and a 3-month-old, for at least eight hours that day.
Jenkins called for emergency assistance and was performing CPR on Bella when the paramedics arrived. She was immediately taken to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown "preliminary autopsy showed the child died of blunt force trauma to her abdomen. The child also showed signs she was sexually abused," reports CBS New York.
The New York City Administration of Children's Services is also investigating. They reportedly removed the infant child from the home. The family has no history with the agency, reports the station."Bella was a beautiful soul, vibrant," family member Quintina Thorn told the station.
"That's how everybody remembers her."Jenkins, of Queens, is charged with second degree murder and assault. Sources tell CBS New York the sex assault allegation is still under investigation, but Jenkins was taken to a hospital before his arrest Tuesday for DNA collection.If convicted of the current charges, Jenkins faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
Bella's mother, Shamikaa Gonzalez, posted messages about the girl's death on Facebook, reports the station."Bella I'm so sorry I wasn't [there] to protect you," Gonzalez wrote. "This feels like a bad dream I can't wake up from."It wasn't clear if Jenkins had a lawyer who could comment."
Via CBS New York:
“Shocking. Very shocking,” said neighbor Doris King. “She looked like a little girl that was well taken care of and dressed nicely.”
“It’s horrible,” said neighbor Barbara Buffolino. “No one wants to hear that happen here.”
“I’m just really devastated that it happened,” said neighbor Idris Ellams.
Another neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said he never saw any signs of abuse.
“She always had her in her arms going upstairs,” he said. “She seemed happy when I saw her last week. She was smiling.”
Bella’s mother Shamikaa Gonzalez posted messages about her death on Facebook.
“Bella I’m so sorry I wasn’t [there] to protect you. This feels like a bad dream I can’t wake up from. You was loved by everyone and shared so many funny memories. I’m going to miss all the times you kissed and hugged me every day and miss hearing you say ‘Hi Loggy I’m your big sister.’ Please watch over me, Logan and the family. We all love you so much,” Gonzalez posted.
This case has gathered celebrity attention with stars completely floored that something so heinous could have happened to such a beautiful and happy child.
Keyshia Cole posted the following message to Instagram:
"Maybe it’s because I went thought A lot as a child, With a Father I didn’t kno, and a Biological Mother who was Absentee because of drug use... , I feel ALL of THIS 100% !!!!!! babies DID NOT ASK To BE HERE!!!! If you can Not PROTECT and PROVIDE, And I kno, YOU (Don’t have to be RICH, to do so)ALL IM SAYING, Is u gotta try to be, mentally prepared to take some sacrifices when it comes to YOUR CHILD!!!!!! If NOT, PLEASE PLEASE!!! Take precautionary steps with birth control, before you Ruin a life, u can’t be there for!! SO SICK OF THESE CHILDREN DYING!!!! And thankful I wasn’t one them🙏🏽 My adopted family took very good care of me, thankful for that, BUT MY LIFE COULD’VE PLAYED OUT, Very differently. And I THANK GOD, he ALWAYS HAD MY BACK!!!!!! 🙏🏽 But there were things that went down, and things I seen, that I shouldn’t have. PERIOD. Parents BE THERE FOR YOUR CHILDREN!"
This case is eerily similar to the case of 4-year-old Aniya Day who was murdered by her mother and her mother's boyfriend and countless other children who have met the same fate. Ladies, mothers, PLEASE stop leaving your children with men who aren't to be trusted. I'm not going to say with a blood relative because I've seen this axe swing both ways but, we've got to protect our children better than we're doing now. NO CHILD should suffer this fate.