The mother of a Brooklyn girl, 9, who was found strangled to death, bludgeoned and with bite marks on her back has been charged with murder.
Shalom Guifarro’s mother, Shamaine Cato, 48, allegedly waited two hours to call 911 after the child died on Sunday. Police arrived at the scene in Crown Height just after 1pm, and attempted to revive the girl.
On Monday, NYPD officials said the girl had been strangled and bludgeoned multiple times and her death has been ruled a homicide. It’s not clear what caused the bite marks on her back.
Cato has been arrested and charged with murder, assault, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possession of a weapon.
Bart Hubbuch, who owns Memphis Seoul, the ground-floor restaurant on Lincoln Place in the same, building told the New York Times that even police appeared to be wiping away tears because the scene was so grisly.
‘They said it was a horrific crime scene,’ Hubbuch told the newspaper.
Police said that the child appeared to have been bitten on the back.
Detectives are investigating the death of 9-year-old Shalom Guifarro who was found in her family’s Crown Heights home suffering from head trauma with bite marks on her back
Inside the fourth-floor apartment of Shamaine Cato, 48, where her 9-year-old daughter was found dead with bite marks on her back
Police have not made any arrests as yet and are awaiting the the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner autopsy report on the cause and manner of death.
Neighbors said that they frequently heard the mother screaming at the girls and a pit-bull mix dog that they kept in the apartment.
‘She was crazy,’ neighbor Rey Santiago told the Times. He said that he saw the mother shove and yell at her children.
Workers at the Memphis Seoul reported a foul odor like sewage coming from the apartment where the 9-year-old girl was found dead
Bart Hubbuch, the owner of the Memphis Seoul restaurant, said that Shamaine Cato was a ‘nightmare’ but her daughters were ‘very well-mannered’
The scene were a 9-year-old girl was found dead was so grisly that police could be seen whipping away tears
Hubbuch told the New York Post that the daughters were ‘very well-mannered’ but Cato is another story.
‘The mom is a nightmare though,’ the restaurant owner told the paper. ‘She was screaming at them. She had this little dog and was really skinny.’
The city’s child welfare agency said that state law prohibits releasing information on individual cases.
‘We are investigating this case with the NYPD, and we have taken action to secure the safety of the other child in this home,’ Administration for Children’s Services spokesman Christopher Rucas said.
‘This is so sad — that was a beautiful little girl,” Crown Heights local Flora Wilson, 51, told the newspaper. She said that she was friendly with the woman, who neighbors said worked as a helper assisting people sign up for social services.
‘She was always screaming at her kids so loud it would startle you,’ neighbor Barry Toddman told the Times, but he never saw her hit her kids. ‘It was like, Why are you screaming at your kids like that?’
Hubbuch said that the mother’s boyfriend was also questioned, but not detained.
‘The dad was just here and he got interviewed by the cops and stormed off,’ he told the New York Post.
Before first-responders arrived at the scene, workers in the ground floor restaurant Memphis Seoul reported a terrible stench, like raw sewage, coming from the apartment Sunday afternoon.
He said when the superintend went to check on the odor, he made the gruesome discovery.
Police dismissed the notion that the odor was coming from the girl’s dead body, saying ‘It takes a lot more time than that before a body starts to smell.’
Another neighbor who lives in the building, but asked not to be named, said that he didn’t smell anything on Sunday.
‘I wish that I had seen some warning flags,’ he said. ‘I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. It’s tragic.’