Mya Lee

Mom's boyfriend accused of murder in toddler's death

June 24, 2010

CROWN POINT | A Chicago man is facing murder and other multiple charges in connection to last year's death of a Hammond toddler left in his care.

A probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday alleges Stacey M. Daniels, 30, told police he struck his girlfriend's daughter, 21-month-old Mya Lee, with a brush causing the girl to lose her balance and hit her head.

The child died at 7:25 a.m. July 24, 2009, at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital from what the Cook County Medical Examiner's office determined a homicide resulting from child abuse, the affidavit states.

An autopsy found the girl suffered brain edema, a subdural hematoma and multiple scalp hemorrhages. Her legs showed signs of bruising of a type doctors said is not typical of bruising suffered by toddlers, including a large hematoma on her right thigh.

Daniels is charged with murder, two counts of battery and three counts of neglect to a dependent.

Daniels is alleged to have told police he was at his girlfriend's apartment in the 2200 block of Woodhollow Avenue in Hammond, where he stayed off and on, when the child was injured on the morning of July 23, 2009.

Daniels reported Mya as still asleep about 7 a.m. when her mother left for work leaving the child in his care, the affidavit states.

Daniels said the child woke up crying about 7:05 a.m. and continued to cry, which he said was not unusual. He was trying to get the girl ready to leave to stay with a babysitter when he picked up a hairbrush and tapped the girl on the thigh as she walked away from him, he told police.

The child lost her balance, fell, hit her head on the floor, and started to cry, he said.

Daniels said he put the child back in her crib and left the room after which he heard "a shaking sound" coming from the bedroom. Re-entering the bedroom, Daniels said he found the girl unresponsive and shaking uncontrollably before going limp.

Daniels is alleged to have told conflicting stories of how the child hit her head.

The child's mother told police she had gotten up at 5:50 a.m. to get ready for work and had asked Daniels to take the child to the babysitter for the day.

She reported the child as healthy and uninjured that morning but for a braid that had been pulled from her head when it got caught in a shopping car.


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