Police: Woman threw grandchild to her death

Officials say no argument or other incident preceded the child's fall from a walkway at Tysons Corner Center.
Officials say no argument or other incident preceded the child's fall from a walkway at Tysons Corner Center. (For The Washington Post)
By Josh White and Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Carmela Dela Rosa often cared for her granddaughter during the day and would carry her carefully in her arms. The happy, 21/2-year-old Angelyn Ogdoc would blow kisses to neighbors, her face framed by her striking long, dark hair.

Dela Rosa, 50, of Fairfax County, would watch her daughter's daughter several times a week. On Monday, the three generations of her family got into a car on Ellenwood Drive for the short ride to Tysons Corner Center, Angelyn strapped meticulously into a child car seat by her grandfather. Before returning home, the family would meet with unexplained tragedy.

Police say Dela Rosa, while walking with the family from the mall to a parking garage, suddenly grabbed the toddler and tossed her over the guardrail of a fifth-story walkway. Angelyn's body crashed into the pavement 50 feet below, and she died hours later at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

So far, police and family members have offered nothing that would suggest why a doting grandmother would so suddenly lash out at the little girl. Two law enforcement sources said nothing precipitated the tragedy - there had been no fight or argument.

Police charged Dela Rosa with murder on Tuesday. When asked if the death could have been accidental, Officer Tawny Wright, a Fairfax County police spokeswoman, said that did not appear to be the case.

"Our detectives looked at that and determined the act was intentional," Wright said.

The walkway is one of several that connect the parking garage and the shopping mall. Below is a two-lane access road and sidewalks. The safety railing appears to be above waist level on an average-height adult.

After Angelyn's fall, Dela Rosa and the other family members stayed at the scene as rescuers and police arrived. Dela Rosa was initially charged with aggravated malicious wounding, but the charges were upgraded Tuesday after Angelyn died at 4:30 a.m. Dela Rosa made an initial court appearance Tuesday and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 4. She is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

Law enforcement officials said they would look at possible mental health issues. One family friend said Dela Rosa had battled depression over the past few years.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Dela Rosa's family members declined to comment. Relatives of Angelyn's father in Falls Church also declined to comment by phone.

No one answered the door at Dela Rosa's home or at Angelyn's on Tuesday.

Neighbors on Ellenwood Drive, just north of Route 50 in Fairfax, described Dela Rosa as a loving, warm caregiver to her granddaughter and as an involved member of the community. She raised a daughter who graduated from a private Catholic high school and attended George Mason University, and she has a teenage son currently attending private Catholic school.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company