Mother Arrested After Fire Kills 2-Year-Old

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Left: Kaleenah Muldrow; Right: Leila AquinoLeft: Kaleenah Muldrow; Right: Leila Aquino

Kaleenah Muldrow was just 2 years old when she died in a fire at her mother’s apartment in Brooklyn, New York, on the morning of Feb. 23. Her mother, 20-year-old Leila Aquino, has since been charged with reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with her daughter’s death.

The fire was put out by 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 23, but Aquino didn't arrive on the scene until 9:30 a.m., according to police sources who spoke with the NY Daily News. Aquino initially told police that she left her daughter with a babysitter, but she was reportedly unable to recall the sitter’s name.

Kaleenah was found underneath a bed; it's believed she crawled under there when the fire broke out.

Kaleenah’s father, Kason Muldrow, who doesn't live in the home with Aquino, said he was skeptical of Aquino’s claims that their daughter was supervised while Aquino worked.

"That's what she said ... but who is to say there was really a sitter?" Muldrow told WABC. "I'm not 100 percent convinced she ever had a sitter.”

Sources claim Aquino later admitted to police she left her daughter alone, according to the NY Post.

Neighbor Lisette Smith said Aquino seemed distressed that she couldn’t locate her child when she arrived at the scene.

“The mother was distraught," Smith told the NY Post. "She came up, she saw the fire and she said she didn’t know where her baby was. She went into the building. She said, ‘Where’s my baby? I just want to find my baby.’ ”

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is continuing its investigation into the case, but fire officials reportedly believe the source of the fire was a portable heater left on in the apartment. 

Sources: Gothamist, NY Daily News, WABC, NY Post / Photo Credit: Gothamist