‘Horrific:’ Two women beat 2-year-old girl to death over course of “several months,” DA says

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WPVI

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner today announced charges against two individuals in the fatal beating of a 2-year-old girl that occurred in the Tacony section of the city. Investigators believe the child had been physically abused for several months.

Philadelphia Police Officers in the 15th District responded to a radio call on Thursday, March 11, 2021, about an unresponsive female toddler. The child, YR, was transported to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in critical condition. She later succumbed to her injuries as a result of blunt force trauma. The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the girl’s death a Homicide.

Yaritza Cirilo-Fuentes, 32, is being charged with one count each of the following: Murder, Endangering the Welfare of a Child (F1), Conspiracy (F1), Possession of an Instrument of Crime (M1), False Reporting to Law Enforcement (M2). She also faces six counts of Corruption of Minors (M1). Cirilo-Fuentes was the victim’s primary caretaker and godmother.

Helen Smith, 42, is being charged with one count each of the following: Murder, Conspiracy (F1), Possession of an Instrument of Crime (M1), False Reporting to Law Enforcement (M2). She also faces six counts of Corruption of Minors (M1). Smith was the victim’s babysitter.

Officials said the child’s mother did not have custody of the child, and had left her in the care of Cirilo-Fuentes, ‘believing the young girl would be safe,’ CBS Philly reported.

“Thanks to a number of witnesses who came forward with information that helped the Philadelphia Police Department apprehend those we believe responsible, we can now pursue justice in this horrific case of apparent long-term abuse involving this innocent 2-year-old girl,” said DA Krasner. “This pandemic has made it terribly difficult to spot signs of abuse because of the absence of contact between children and mandated reporters such as teachers and other service providers. That’s why it’s critically important that witnesses contact authorities if they suspect that child abuse is occurring.”

“I can’t imagine that there would ever be a motive that could be understood or sort of dissected from an adult person who would torture a 2-year-old,” Assistant District Attorney Chesley Lightsey said.

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