A Nigerian nurse based in Queens was arrested Wednesday and charged with killing a toddler under her care by placing her in a scalding bath.
Oluyemisi Adebayo, 54, of St. Albans, Queens, was about to board a flight to an unspecified country in Africa, via London, when she was arrested Wednesday morning, according to the office of Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, Corey Brock was angry and grieving after the death of his 23-month-old daughter, Naomi Mondesire. Police said the baby died of “thermal related injuries” after she was placed inside a bathtub with scalding hot water.
“I wouldn’t get into a shower without checking the water. Nobody does,” Brock said.
Adebayo — described by the DA’s office as a licensed nurse practitioner — was charged with murder in Naomi’s death. Prosecutors said the child, who was severely developmentally disabled, had been hospitalized days earlier after suffering immersion scald burns that covered about 50 percent of her body.
“The defendant had been trained to heal and save lives – which she is accused of failing to fulfill,” DA Brown said in a news release. “The tiny victim suffered extraordinarily painful injuries for several days before she died. This is a terribly sad and tragic case that could have been prevented.”
Prosecutors said Adebayo had been hired to take care of Naomi in her family’s home in Rosedale, Queens. On Friday of last week, doctors at Nassau University Medical Center performed surgery to treat the severe scald burns Naomi had suffered, but she died three days later, prosecutors said.
Adebayo said she had prepared a bath for Naomi on Tuesday, April 21, and that she tested the temperature of the hot water with her own hand before putting Naomi in the tub, prosecutors said. Adebayo allegedly claimed she only noticed skin falling off Naomi’s legs after she took the girl out of the tub, prosecutors said.
But NYPD Crime Scene Unit detectives determined that the water from the tub spigot reached 130 degrees, and it took about two minutes to reach the maximum temperature, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said the injuries suffered by Naomi were consistent with her being submerged up to her waist in 130-degree water for about 30 seconds. Medical personnel said Adebayo’s account did not at all match up to the injuries observed, prosecutors said.
“She claimed it was a mistake. She claimed she checked the water. It’s impossible,” Brock said.
“If she had checked the water, she would have been burnt also.”
Brock said the fact that Adebayo was caught at the airport says a lot.
“She knows what she did,” he said. “That’s why she was trying to flee the country.”
Naomi’s mother was still too upset to talk with CBS2 on camera Wednesday night. But she said her baby was born several weeks prematurely and had to breathe through a tracheotomy.
“She had her own struggles that she survived, and this right here, this was not from her nature — totally unnecessary,” Brock said.
Brock could not believe that the woman charged with taking care of his daughter was now accused of her murder.
“She’s supposed to be trained and certified for all these years,” he said. “My daughter’s care was in her hands.”
Adebayo was awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court Wednesday. She could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.
CBS New York