A 13-month-old girl with injuries to her face died after being found unresponsive in her in crib in Mount Vernon Friday morning, police said.Little Samia Bartee was discovered in an unkempt apartment on Washington St. at about 5:30 a.m., Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Ronald Fatigate said.Samia was taken to Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital but could not be revived.
Samia’s mom De’Asia Bartee, four other adults and two children were being questioned at Mount Vernon police headquarters Friday, Fatigate said.
The death was being investigated as a possible homicide. Samia had no pre-existing health issues, he said.
Fatigate denied media reports, based on unnamed sources, that the baby was found in a freezer.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas said the death hit his constituents like a “ton of bricks.”
The 13-month-old’s death had not yet been classified a homicide, but it was being investigated as such.
“We’re a small city but a tight one, and the news is very disturbing,” he said. “What we know based on the information we have is that it’s definitely suspicious and tragic.”
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Shakwita Walker, 32, a housekeeper at Westchester Medical Center who lives next door to the baby’s family, said she last spoke with the baby’s mom outside a nearby deli two days ago.
“Her baby seemed happy and fine to me,” Walker said. “She was saying the baby was sick and she took it to the doctor and gave the baby medicine. She said the baby wasn’t eating.”
Walker was shocked by the baby’s death.
“The baby said hi to me and was happy and smiling,” she said. “She was holding on to her mother. I don’t know what’s going on in that house behind closed doors.”
She said Bartee is a former child care worker who also worked at a nearby flower shop.
Westchester County Forensic Detectives take evidence out of the building where the body of 13-month-old Samia Bartee was found in her crib.
“She would walk her kids to school in the sleet, rain or snow,” she said. “She took her babies to the park and was always taking pictures with them.”
Rochelle Jones, 36, an upstairs neighbor, was shocked by the death.
“It’s devastating,” she said. “She was a mother raising her kids by herself. She made the best with what she had.”
Rejennae Everett, 24, a teacher’s assistant and friend of the family, was devastated to hear the news.
“They’re not bad people,” she said between sobs. “They struggle just like everybody else. I just want to be with the children and see them.”