WHITMAN (CBS) — Police have arrested the mother of a 2-year-old girl who died after being found unresponsive in a Whitman apartment late last month, according to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office. Shaniqua Leonard, 29, has been charged with reckless endangerment of a child.

Lyric Farrell was found unresponsive inside a Washington Street apartment on Dec. 28. She was rushed to a hospital for treatment, but on Dec. 31, she was taken off life support and died.

Leonard was arrested Thursday afternoon in Dorchester and was taken to Brockton. She was arraigned in Brockton District Court around 4:30 p.m. and hid behind a door during the process.

Leonard was held without bail Thursday due to her lawyer being unable to attend the arraignment. Bail will be determined Friday when he is present.

Lyric Farrell. (Family photo)

According to the police report, doctors believe Lyric Farrell died from a “non-accidental traumatic head injury.” It says investigators observed scratches to the 2-year-old’s face, neck, torso and back. Police said in the report that interviews with Leonard and her other children revealed that Lyric would often hit her head against the ground, scratch herself, pull out chunks of her hair and refuse to eat.

But the report also says that based on videos of the toddler that they acquired from Leonard’s phone, police believe these behaviors may have been a result of medical distress. The report says the toddler can be seen in the videos, which are from two days prior to the 911 call, in a dazed state, unable to walk and even falling and and hitting her head on the floor.

Police said in the report that Leonard called 911 on Dec. 28 after she found the child unconscious.

“Shaniqua Leonard’s failure to adequately care for and seek medical attention for Lyric Farrell caused her medical condition to deteriorate and ultimately led to her death…Leonard had a duty to act as she was the biological mother of Lyric Farrell and Lyric Farrell was in her exclusive physical custody,” police said in the report.

An investigation into Lyric Farrell’s death is ongoing. The medical examiner has not yet finished her autopsy and is still conducting neurological tests.


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