Updated 08/13/2012 11:42 PM
Queens Mother Charged With Killing Her Own Toddler
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A Queens woman has been arrested and charged with the killing of her own two-year-old son.
Afriyie Gaspard, the 29-year-old mother of six, faces up to 25 years in prison for manslaughter charges.
According to the Queens district attorney, Gaspard allegedly strangled her son, Izayah Hall, because he would not stop crying Friday afternoon.
Gaspard was observed screaming Monday as she was led out the 107th Precinct station house to be arraigned. A man presumed to be her husband was seen running up to her, perhaps to hide her face from cameras.
NY1 is told Gaspard called 911 to her Jewel Avenue apartment in Kew Gardens Hills Friday afternoon because the boy would not wake up.
Family members say Gaspard told them some of her the children were playing with a rope and she took it from them. They say when she later tried to wake Izayah up from a nap, he did not respond.
Authorities found marks on the boy's neck and head, according to the Queens district attorney, and the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.
"My sister is not a murderer. She never chastised her children physically. She never believed in corporal punishment," said the suspect's aunt, Stefani Gaspard.
The suspect's sister believes the police forced a confession out of Afriyie Gaspard and that the incident is a tragic accident.
"I know that she was coerced because while she was there she said that the officer asked her after [being] there 15 hours of an investigation or whatever. They told her that if she wanted to see the light of day that she needed to let them know it was an accident. And she said to them she did not have an accident. There was no accident," said Stefani Gaspard.
Neighbors told NY1 that Afriyie Gaspard seemed incapable of taking care of her large family.
"Every time you see her, she looked mentally out of it," said neighbor Candita Marte.
Family members say in the past Afriyie Gaspard's children were removed from the home by the city's Administration for Children's Services but were returned to her earlier this year.
"They took my sister's babies and she did everything they asked her to to be able to have her children," said Stefani Gaspard.
ACS officials say the agency now has custody of Gaspard's five other children. Stefani Gaspard told NY1 she is trying to get them turned over to her.