A Connecticut mother returned home from work one afternoon to find her 3-year-old daughter with second-degree burns on her hands and legs and a black eye.
The incident occurred March 27. The school teacher came home from work and found her daughter with the alarming injuries.
The babysitter, Lidia Quilligana, told the mother the child had accidentally burned herself on the stove, hit her eye on the knob and fell down.
But when the mother looked at footage from a secret nanny camera she had installed, she says she discovered the horrifying truth about what the baby sitter had done to her daughter.
She quickly called the police, who reviewed the disturbing footage and arrested Quilligana on charges of first-degree assault, the New Times reported.
“In the footage, you can see the absolute fear and pain from the trauma in (the little girl’s) facial expressions,” Danbury Police Officer Thomas Geanuracos wrote in an arrest report. “At one point, I observed Quilligana pick (the child) up by the throat with two hands and toss her to the ground.”
“I observed Quilligana repeatedly take (her) by the wrist and put her hands on what appeared to be hot stove burners,” Geanuracos continued. “I observed Quilligana at one point jump on (the child) while she was lying on the ground and it appeared Quilligana applied all of her weight onto her and then pulled her pants and underwear down and spanked her …”
The mother became suspicious about Quilligana after she started noticing bruises on her daughter’s body. She installed the secret camera in December.
“Lidia, my nanny, told me that they had made pancakes and when she wasn’t watching, my daughter had pushed her little chair up to the stove and burned herself, and that she got the black eye by hitting herself on the stove knob cover when she fell,” the mother told police in a statement that night. “I called my pediatrician and was told to bring my daughter in immediately.”
New details released from the officer’s arrest report revealed that Quilligana appeared to be force-feeding the child something that was too hot to eat, causing blistering in her mouth.
Whenever the the 3-year-old resisted, Quilligana hit her, Geanuracos wrote.
“I observed Quilligana repeatedly smack (her) across the face, each time knocking her to the ground,” the officer stated.
The footage also shows Quilligana attempting to damage the child-proof locks on the stove knobs in an apparent effort to corroborate her story, Geanuracos said.
At Quilligana’s arraignment on March 30, a prosecutor who had just finished watching the day's footage was so disgusted by it she successfully argued for the babysitter’s bail to be increased from $100,000 to $1 million.
“It is one of the most horrific things I have ever seen,” said Senior State’s Attorney Deborah Mabbet. “You can hear the child screaming on the video as she is trying to get away.”
Quilligana will appear in state Superior Court in Danbury, Connecticut, on April 22. She has yet to enter a plea.
The mother asked that her name not be released to protect her daughter’s identity.
Photo Credit: Danbury Police Via New Times