Carmen Ramirez, 27, and Carlos Rivera, 30, of Philadelphia, have been arrested and charged for the death of their three-year-old daughter who starved to death in the couple's flea, rat, and cockroach infested home. The child, Nathalyz Rivera, was born with Down syndrome and was also blind.
Nathalyz Rivera was found not breathing in her room by her father, Carlos Rivera, Sept. 9 at midnight. Rather than calling for immediate medical attention Rivera called the child's mother, Carmen Ramirez, who came home from an evening of socializing and took the lifeless child to the hospital where she was pronounced dead at exactly 1:50 a.m. It was at this time Carmen Ramirez was taken into custody based on the physical condition of the child. After learning of Ramirez's arrest, Rivera attempted to flee but was found and taken into custody several hours later. Carlos Rivera has had multiple arrests, and a long history of violence.
Also living in the home where four other children, with the oldest being nine-years-old. All children were placed in state custody and were found to have been exposed to severe biting from rodents and insects.
A neighbor, Anetta Dangerfield, 82, said two days before the child was found she heard loud crying:
The baby cried for about an hour and a half. Just cried constantly.
Upon examination Nathalyz was found to weigh just 11 pounds, and her bones were plainly viewed through her pale skin. On average a 4-year-old should weigh 35 pounds. During the examination dozens bites of different sizes were found on Nathalyz, and a live cockroach was also found on her body.
This doesn't happen to a child in a couple of weeks. Generally, it is a process that takes months and months, or even years of neglect.
This is one of the worst cases of abuse that I've seen in my five years on the homicide unit.
When the family home was searched investigators wore hazmat suits to protect themselves from the fleas, rats, cockroaches and overwhelming stenches which were in abundance. The local DHS has no record of contact ever being made, and knew nothing about Nathalyz or her condition.
Both Ramirez and Rivera are being charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, and endangering the welfare of a child.
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