Brockton Hospital

Whitman Mother Held Without Bail in Connection to Child's Death

The child was taken off life support on Dec. 31, 2019, after she was declared brain dead

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The Massachusetts woman arrested in connection to the death of her 2-year-old daughter returned to court on Friday for her alleged role in the tragedy.

Shaniqua Leonard, 29, was arrested Thursday in Dorchester on a charge of reckless endangerment of a child for the death of her daughter, Lyric Farrell.

The girl was found unresponsive on Dec. 28 at a home in Whitman and taken to Brockton Hospital. She was then flown to Boston Children’s Hospital, where she died on New Year’s Eve. She was taken off life support after she was deemed brain dead, according to the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office.

Leonard appeared in Brockton District Court on Thursday, but her arraignment was partially postponed so another lawyer can attend.

According to court documents, Leonard told authorities the toddler had been banging her head on the floor in the days leading up to her death. The defendant also showed them a video of the matter.

Prosecutors said the 29-year-old mother of seven failed to get the medical care her two-year-old needed — pointing to more than a dozen videos on Leonard's phone showing the little girl in distress.

"Mom did nothing to alleviate that in the final hours and instead waited she has no pulse and was not breathing at all to call 911," Assistant District Attorney Jessica Kenny said Friday.

Prosecutors added that Leonard has a lengthy criminal record including 12 different retraining orders as well as a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon against the toddler's father.

Leonard's attorney said those old charges are debatable and there was no evidence his client harmed her daughter.

"What we have here is a woman charged with a misdemeanor who based on the Commonwealth's recitation is charged not because she acted but because she didn't act," defense attorney Michael Trumposky said.

Authorities arrested the mother of a 2-year-old Whitman girl who died, charging her with reckless child endangerment.

The girl's father, Chris Farrell, told NBC10 Boston that the Department of Child and Families had custody of Lyric for about 14 months before she was returned to Leonard. Chris said he previously reported the defendant to officials for being violent.

Chris Farrell, who was in court Friday for Leonard's arraignment, said he was saddened by the situation.

"I mean, that's my child. You know, how am I supposed to feel? I've been telling them forever," Chris Farrell said.

The judge ordered Leonard held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing. She's due back in court Monday.

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