Tajh Washington says he’s been in the shelter system for six months, and never imagined a tragedy would happen so close to home.
His next-door neighbor, Alyssa Owens, was arrested after investigators say she slammed her son's head against a portable crib and playpen repeatedly because she was “frustrated with him.”
Two-month-old Antonio Diaz is now dead.
“Her facial expressions were like no remorse basically, none at all, like she didn’t really care,” said Washington.
Police say the infant was found unconscious when they got a 911 call for the Candlewood Suites on West 39th Street Sunday, which is operating as a shelter. The baby later died at the hospital.
According to court documents, Owens told officers she grabbed Antonio and hit his head against the side of the portable crib three times — not on purpose, but out of frustration.
Washington says Owens was only living in the shelter about a week, and he fears what could’ve happened to his own 18-month-old if they became acquainted.
“We could’ve befriended this female, and me and my wife could’ve had my daughter, you know, in her care at some point and time, you know, if we befriended her you know, like thank God we never talked to her,” he said.
According to the criminal complaint, when asked to rank the amount of force she used on a scale of 1-10, Owens said it was about a nine, with the last hit being a 10.
Owens is charged with assault and acting in a manner injurious to a child, but those charges are expected to be upgraded when the cause of death is determined by the medical examiner.
“It’s crazy, you never know who you’re living next to,” said Washington.
Owens is due back in court on Friday.