The stepmother of a 9-year-old Queens girl whose bruised body was found in a bathtub has been arraigned in her death, officials said.
Arjun Samdhi Pardas, the 55-year-old stepmom to Ashdeep Kaur, is accused of strangling the young girl who was in her care.
According to family members, Pardas has a history of abuse against Ashdeep, who had arrived in the United States just three months earlier to live with her father, Sukhjinder Singh, the New York Daily News reported.
"She was not treating her really good,” Ashdeep’s uncle Manjinder Singh told the Daily News of Pardas. "The girl told me she got beat up by her. Twice she told me she grabbed her and threw her on the bed. I was not thinking she would kill her."
The girl's body was found Friday evening by a woman who shares part of the family's Richmond Hill home, the Daily News reported.
Ashdeep was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. The medical examiner’s office has determined that the cause of death was manual strangulation.
Pardas was later located at her ex-husband's house, according to prosecutors. Two children were found with her when she was arrested, and they were put under the care of city child protective services, the Daily News reported.
A witness saw Pardas leaving her home at about 5:30 p.m. Friday along with her ex-husband Raymond Narayan, and her two grandchildren ages 3 and 5, according to the Queens district attorney's office. When the witness asked about Ashdeep's whereabouts Pardas allegedly said that the 9-year-old girl was in the bathroom and was waiting for her father to pick her up. That was when the witness, apparently the neighbor, became concerned, as the bathroom light had been on since 11 a.m., and called the father, who instructed her to break open the bathroom door, prosecutors said.
When police showed up at Narayan's house to find Pardas, she refused to come out, and they weren't let in for more than an hour, officials said. They took both into custody, charging Pardas with second-degree, and holding her husband on charges of obstructing governmental administration.
Pardas was arraigned Sunday on the murder charge, and ordered held without bail. She is set to return to court on Sept. 2.