A 9-year-old girl was discovered dead with bite marks on her back and trauma to her head in an apartment she lived in with her mother, sister and a pit bull.
Police found Shalom Guifarro at the apartment in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood shortly after 1pm on Sunday, and were not successful in reviving her. Her mother Shamaine Cato, 48, allegedly waited two hours after her daughter died to call 911.
Shalom appeared to be struck multiple times and it was not clear what the source of the bite marks were on her back, according to the New York Police Department on Monday.
Her death was ruled a homicide. The cause and manner are pending the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s autopsy report.
No one was immediately charged in connection with Shalom’s death.
Neighbors said they often heard Cato yelling at her daughters and a pit bull mix that lived with them.
‘She was crazy,’ neighbor Rey Santiago told The New York Times, adding that he saw the mother shove and scream at the girls.
Bart Hubbuch, owner of the Memphis Seoul restaurant on the ground floor of the building, told the newspaper that the daughters were ‘very well-mannered’ but that ‘the mom is a nightmare’.
‘She was screaming at them,’ he said. ‘She had this little dog and was really skinny.’
Hubbuch said that even police officers at the scene appeared to be teary-eyed.
‘They said it was a horrific crime scene,’ Hubbuch said.
Hubbuch added that Cato’s boyfriend was questioned, but he was not detained.
‘The dad was just here and he got interviewed by the cops and stormed off,’ he told the New York Post.
Details on specific cases cannot be released, per state law, according to the New York City Administration for Children’s Services.
‘We are investigating this case with the NYPD,’ said the administration’s spokesman Christopher Rucas. ‘And we have taken action to secure the safety of the other child in this home.’