A 19-year-old Detroit woman is behind bars, charged with the alleged beating death of her 1-year-old daughter.
Sierra Tankersley was arraigned Nov. 6 on charges of felony murder and first-degree child abuse in connection with the death of her daughter, Malayh Tankersley, according to The Detroit News.
Prosecutors told The Associated Press that Tankersley called 911 on Nov. 2 from her apartment and reported the child unresponsive. Responders found the child lying on the floor of the apartment and took her to a nearby hospital where she later died. Prosecutors said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
Tankersley’s sister, Christina Robinson, told WJBK she has no idea what happened to the baby, who was reported to have been born premature, but finds it hard to believe that her sister would do anything to hurt her daughter.
“She is a very good mother, she took care of her kids very well,” she said. “They had everything they needed and wanted. Did they ever get in trouble, no. Even if they did, did she whoop them, she wouldn't even spank them on the hand.”
Robinson said Tankersley tried to wake her daughter that morning and panicked when the child didn’t respond. She said that while her sister was the only one home at the time the emergency call was placed, there were others in the home the previous night who should be questioned by police.
She said she spoke to Tankersley before she was arrested.
“She said, ‘I don't have a clue what happened, this does not feel real,’” Robinson said.
Police removed another child — a 2-year-old daughter — from the home. It has not yet been reported if that child is with family or in state custody.
Tankersley entered a plea of not guilty last Thursday. She was remanded without bond to the Wayne County Jail.
Prosecutors said they did not yet know if she had an attorney.
A preliminary examination is scheduled for Nov. 18.