New details emerge after Chicago babysitter charged in death of baby girl
CHICAGO - A babysitter has been charged in the death of a four-month-old girl on the city's Northwest Side.
Chicago police arrested 29-year-old Norma Chagnama. Police say the newborn — identified as Zury Cruz Sumba — was abused in the 4700 block of N. Lawndale Avenue.
Sumba was taken to the hospital unconscious and not breathing. She was later pronounced dead, police said.
According to court documents, Chagnama had babysat Sumba at her own apartment since late last year. Documents say that on Feb. 16, Chagnama had noticed Sumba vomited on a bed. Chagnama then allegedly forcefully picked up the girl from the bed and swung her over her shoulder to pat the victim on the back.
Chagnama then allegedly threw the baby down onto the bed and realized the girl was having more trouble breathing.
Documents state Chagnama contacted the Sumba's mother who showed up at her home and began CPR.
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An autopsy determined the baby's death was a homicide. Sumba had a significant injury to her spinal cord, her brain was very swollen, and the child's eyes had hemorrhaging around both optic nerves.
Chagnama’s attorney spoke out on Monday, denying that Chagnama is responsible for the baby's death.
"So obviously Norma's devastated. We don't agree with the allegations. We're maintaining her innocence. We don't believe that the timeline that the state's attorney set out lined up with what exactly happened on that day. Norma's never been in trouble with the law before. She's always cared for this child as well as other children," said attorney Niklas Lofgren.
On the night after the girl died, prosecutors said Chagnam’s husband reached out to the baby’s father, then he and his wife went to the family’s apartment. During the visit, Chagnama allegedly indicated she was sorry for what happened, and her husband gave the family money and said to "trust the word of God."
Prosecutors said the baby’s mother and father had been charged with a misdemeanor count of child endangerment last month after they left the girl in a car while they were going inside a restaurant.
The girl was removed from their custody for a time, but returned about two weeks before her death, prosecutors said.
Chagnama has no criminal background and was not a licensed daycare provider, prosecutors said.
Chagnama has been charged with first-degree murder. She was denied bail during a hearing Monday and is due back in court on February 27.
Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.