New Jersey woman Sheila Polanski pleaded not guilty to the murder of two-year-old Madeline McHenry on Monday. The young McHenry died one day after Polanski called 911 on her behalf while babysitting her.
According to prosecutors, Polanski shook the child violently and threw her on the ground because she wouldn’t stop crying.
"The defendant grabbed the child around her chest, continuously shook the child in a violent manner then threw Madeline to the floor," prosecutor Mary Alison Albright said.
According to Albright, Polanski waited hours before calling 911 for the injured child.
"She then called a friend for advice and it was her friend who finally told her 'You need to call 911,'" Albright said.
Polanski was initially charged with aggravated assault after doctors found fresh bruises all over the child’s body. When McHenry died the next day, Polanski was charged with murder.
The accused woman and the McHenry family cried through Monday’s arraignment. Polanski’s lawyer Saul Steinberg offered his condolences to the family.
"It's a tragic situation. At this point, no matter what the facts are and how the facts develop it's always a tragic situation," Steinberg said. "Any family would have to have empathy and concern for the death of a child."
The McHenry’s say Polanski’s resume came with numerous references vouching for her babysitting experience. She failed to tell the family she is on medication for mental health issues and has a prior criminal record.