Turning A Blind Eye On Child Abuse? 3-Year-Old Girl Killed By Stepdad After Mom, Neighbors Ignored His Violent Ways
The arrest of a 32-year-old New Yorker on murder and assault charges, after the death of his 3-year-old stepdaughter, has revived conversations around domestic violence and sexual abuse.
Evidence of sexual abuse
The man, Marc Jenkins, had called 911 after his stepdaughter, Bella, passed out from blunt force trauma to her abdomen. When the police arrived to their residence in Queen, they found her unresponsive.
They also found evidence that she had been sexually abused. Jenkins, an ex-convict who is married to Bella's mom, was the only adult at home. He was apparently meant to watch Bella and her 3-month-old sibling.
The New York City Administration of Children's Services said the family did not have a history of complaints with them.
Her father found out on Facebook
Bella died in the hospital where she was rushed to, from internal bleeding. Her biological father, Kellon Edwards, was not immediately made aware of the developments. In fact, he got to learn of his daughter's death after a relative posted the news on Facebook.
He and Bella's mom, Shamika Gonzalez, had reportedly tried to co-parent their little girl, but failed to work things out.
Edwards said he had never spoken to or met Jenkins. He also said the only exchange he had had with Bella's mother more since the incident was when she called to say "Sorry."
NYPD Chief of Detectives, Robert Boyce, gave details about the case in a press conference. He confirmed that the little girl was hit about the abdomen.
While Jenkins has now been charged with first degree depraved assault and second-degree depraved murder, it is important to continue to raise awareness.
The dangers minors face when they are left with abusive adults is not new. Bella's case is one of many that end in the death of the victim. Others continue to suffer abuse well into adulthood.
— PYT ???? (@MsBadPyt) April 5, 2018
Do not wait or ignore the signs once you recognize an abusive situation. At the slightest sign of abuse, report to law enforcement agencies and any reputable organization known for addressing abuse.
These organizations are equipped to carry out the necessary investigations to determine if the report meets the legal definition of abuse or neglect, and how dangerous the situation is.