BY SAM RAPPAPORT
A Rockaway Park man has been charged in the murder of 3-year-old Bella Edwards, who was found unconscious and unresponsive in her family’s apartment on Monday evening, the Queens district attorney said.
The defendant, Marc Jenkins, 32, is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a complaint charging him with second-degree depraved murder and first-degree depraved assault, Queens DA Richard Brown said.
“This is a terribly disturbing case,” Brown said. “The victim here is an innocent little girl, whose body revealed traumatic abuse injuries. The defendant—who resided with the child’s mother—now faces the possibility of life imprisonment.”
Jenkins faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted, the DA said.
According to the charges, Jenkins was the only adult in the apartment with Edwards and her 3-month-old sibling for approximately eight hours on Monday. The defendant called 911 at approximately 6 p.m. on Monday evening. After emergency responders found Edwards unresponsive at the apartment on Beach 105th Street, they rushed her to St. John’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Preliminary results of the autopsy showed that Edwards died from blunt force trauma to her abdomen, according to the DA. Other medical studies are pending.
A candlelight vigil was held on Tuesday evening at 1 Beach 105th St. to honor Edwards’ memory.
Edwards’ mother, Shamikaa Gonzalez, posted on Facebook about the incident.
“Bella, I’m so sorry I wasn’t there to protect you,” Gonzalez wrote. “This feels like a bad dream I can’t wake up from. You [were] loved by everyone and shared so many funny memories. I’m going to miss all the times you kissed and hugged me every day.”
Assistant D.A. Leigh Bishop, Chief of the Child Fatality Unit, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Special Victims Unit Chief Kenneth Appelbaum and Executive Assistant D.A. for Major Crimes Daniel Saunders.
Reach reporter Sam Rappaport via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 123.