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Charges are brought in the death of 3-year-old at homeless shelter

One day after a Brooklyn toddler was killed in an alleged beating by her stepfather, public officials called for an investigation by the New York City Department of Homeless Services.

Police charged Kelsey Shawn Smith, 20, Sunday evening in the alleged beating death of his 3-year-old stepdaughter at a homeless shelter in Brooklyn.

Smith was charged with a felony assault and acting in a manner that was injurious to a child less than 17 years old.

Jeida Torres, 3, was found unresponsive in her Bushwick apartment on Cooper Street Saturday afternoon. The girl, along with her 5 year old brother, Andrew, were found with bruising on their bodies, and taken by ambulance to Wyckoff Hospital.

According to local sources who spoke to numerous media outlets, Torres had soiled herself before she was beaten.

The girl was pronounced dead on arrival, and her brother was listed in stable condition.

Smith, 20, was taken into custody later Saturday, but the charges didn’t come until the following evening.

The apartment where Torres died is a part of the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and managed by a private contractor. According to the department’s most recent daily census on Oct. 16, 24,626 children were living in homeless shelters in the city.

DHS gave the facility a median rating — three out of six — during the most recent report from October through December 2013.

On Sunday, candles and balloons started appearing outside of the Cooper Street apartment.

"It's upsetting to hear. The child never really had a chance to live," said Raymond Rios, who lives in the neighborhood.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams held a press conference outside the apartment Sunday afternoon, calling on DHS to investigate Jeida Torres’ death. Adams said Andrew Torres was beaten by the suspect when he tried to intervene and stop Smith from beating his sister.

“This is a sick senseless act," Adams said. “Anyone with a family feels chills when they hear that a 3-year-old child has been killed."

"A child has no chance against the hands of an adult. We have a fallen angel who died yesterday ... a baby girl, and her brother witnessed it,” said Ama Dwimoh, special counsel to Adams and former head of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Crimes Against Children Bureau.

Smith’s uncle, Mark Almodovar, also was near the Cooper Street home on Sunday.

“He never meant to hurt the kid. He mean to discipline her and accidentally crushed her lungs. He wouldn't do that. He's not that kind of person. He tried to kill himself because he felt guilty and knew he was going to jail,” Almodovar said.

Torres’ mother was not home at the time of the incident. A photo of a marriage license posted on Smith’s Facebook page shows the couple were married in July.

 

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