Mom charged with murder stemming from investigation into daughter's death
ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -
An Orlando woman who claims the death of her daughter was the result of a hit-and-run incident has now been charged with first-degree murder according to the Orange County Jail website. The jail confirmed to FOX 35 the charge was added on Wednesday night.
Maryanne Schwartz, 22, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion that her son had been a victim of child abuse. Hours after her arrest, authorities charged Schwartz with murder in the death of her daughter, 3-year-old Yeliani Schwartz-Ojeda.
Troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol said Schwartz called 911 Friday night, reporting that her daughter was hurt in a hit-and-run incident inside the apartment complex at the Grandview Point Apartments. Investigators said Schwartz's story wasn't adding up. On Tuesday, the Orange County Medical Examiner ruled the death of the girl to be a homicide, stating that injuries to the child were not consistent with those resulting from being struck by a vehicle.
During the investigation into the death the child, staff at Arnold Palmer Hospital reported to law enforcement that Scwhartz's 2-year-old son had "multiple bruises on his body that were not consistent with normal child activities." At a custody hearing held Tuesday morning, Schwartz repeatedly declined to answer reporter's questions as she walked around the Orange County Juvenile Justice Center. She was appointed a lawyer to help with future hearings regarding custody of her son. The boy was removed from the home following the girl's death.
In a hearing on Sunday, a Child Protection Investigator said medical staff voiced concerns about the time of the child's death, given the temperature of the little girl's body. The investigator said the little girl seemed to be malnourished and both of Schwartz's children had bruises all over their bodies.
"There were bruises on the children that concerned us and led us to believe there is possible physical abuse that occurred," said Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Kristi Gray.
Schwartz was located at the Whitney Grove Apartments on Wednesday and transported to the Sheriff's Office for questioning. She was later booked into the Orange County Jail on the child abuse charge. The homicide investigation is still ongoing.