New York authorities have a charged a nurse with murder after a 23-month-old girl she was caring for died from burns allegedly suffered while the girl was being given a bath.
WNBC News reports police arrested 54-year-old Oluyemisi Adebayo, of Queens, on April 29 as she attempted to board a flight to Africa. Police said they believe she was trying to flee to her native Nigeria.
Adebayo, a licensed practical nurse, had been hired by the family of Naomi Mondesire, who was born prematurely and required special care during the day.
Naomi Mondesire’s grandmother, Gardite Mondesire, told WNBC that Adebayo had only been on the job for two days when she received a call from the nurse saying something had happened.
According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, authorities believe Adebayo drew a bath for the baby on April 21 that was too hot. The complaint indicates Adebayo tested the temperature of the water with her hand before placing the girl in the tub, but noticed skin falling off the baby’s legs after taking her out of the tub.
The girl was treated at Nassau University Medical Center and underwent surgery for second- and third-degree burns on over half of her body.
She died on April 27. Preliminary findings from the autopsy indicate her death was a result of complications from the burns.
Adebayo was arraigned on second-degree murder charges on April 30 in Queens Criminal Court, the New York Daily News reported.
Prosecutor P. Leigh Bishop told the judge that Adebayo had admitted to investigators the child was injured when she took her out of the bath.
“She told investigators that she bathed the child and when she took her out she saw skin falling off her body,” Bishop said.
Prosecutors also told the judge they believed the nurse was trying to flee when she was apprehended. They said her plane ticket was purchased after the girl’s death and she had transferred a large sum of money around the same time.
Adebayo’s attorney, Jeffrey D. Cohen, asked the judge to set bail for his client, but the judge denied the request and ordered Adebayo held without bail until her trial.
Cohen also told the judge the scalding was completely accidental and his defendant had done everything to prevent it.
“My client is a nurse with two children … She did test the water … My client understands what is involved in this matter … Someone who has been a nurse for the past 19 years understands what it means to take care of a child,” he said, according to the New York Daily News.
Adebayo is due back in court on May 15. If convicted, she could face 25 years to life in prison.