Updated 10/29/2010 11:14 PM
Underweight Brooklyn Girl Died From Abuse, Neglect, Says Medical Examiner
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The city medical examiner ruled Friday that the death of Marchella Pierce, the four-year-old Brooklyn girl who weighed only 18 pounds at the end of her life, was a homicide, and that the girl suffered from neglect and abuse.
According to the medical examiner's findings, Marchella showed many symptoms of child abuse, including "acute drug poisoning, blunt impact injuries, malnutrition and dehydration."
She was found dead last month inside her family's home in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Prosecutors say she had marks on her wrists and ankles, apparently from being tied to her bed. They also say she was also repeatedly beaten with a belt.
Her mother, Carlotta Brett-Pierce, pleaded not guilty Thursday to assault charges and is due back in court on November 16.
Prosecutors say there could be additional charges.
The Administration for Children's Services, subcontractors and others responsible for monitoring Marchella Pierce are under criminal investigation.
The Administration for Children’s Services said in a statement Friday, “Since learning of her death and launching an investigation, we have already begun addressing practice concerns within the child welfare system that were identified as a result of this case.”
The defendant's other children have been placed in foster care.