A 19-year-old Kansas City woman was charged Saturday with child abuse and assault in connection with the death of her 1-year-old daughter.
According to Jackson County court records, Donniesha Lasha Lee appeared to have smothered the child while holding her Thursday night in a southeast Kansas City apartment.
Witnesses told police that Lee was holding the girl in a “bear hug” to her chest, repeatedly striking her and yelling at her to “shut up.”
Two people in the apartment in the 6900 block of East 116th Street told police that they told Lee to relax her hold on the child and that they heard the child struggling to breathe. Court records indicate that one person tried to take the child but that Lee held on.
Three witnesses told police they next saw the toddler lying unresponsive and face-down on the couch, with Lee appearing to have passed out. Evidence at the scene supported witnesses’ statements that Lee had been drinking heavily, according to court documents. One witness told police that Lee also had smoked marijuana that day.
Witnesses called for an ambulance and tried unsuccessfully to wake the toddler. They also said that although they were yelling at Lee, it took a while to rouse her.
When she did wake up, she allegedly told the witnesses, “Y’all gonna get me a charge.”
The child, identified in court records only as DLF, was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital. An autopsy was to be conducted Saturday.
Prosecutors requested a $250,000 bond for Lee and said the case remains under investigation.
Missouri family services records showed that Lee and DLF had both tested positive for marijuana and cocaine at the time of the girl’s birth in December 2013, according to court documents.
Police said they interviewed Lee on Friday after she no longer appeared inebriated. Lee admitted drinking but said she wasn’t intoxicated Thursday night, according to court records.
She described cradling her child and gently patting her back, and she told officers, “Nobody puts my baby to sleep but me.”
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