The Crime Scene: No bond for grandmother in Tysons toddler death

By Tom Jackman
Monday, December 20, 2010; 4:45 PM

The Fairfax County woman accused of hurling her two-year-old granddaughter off a Tysons Corner walkway to her death was denied bond Monday morning in a hearing in Fairfax juvenile court.

Carmela Dela Rosa, 50, who lived just outside Fairfax City on Ellenwood Drive, has been in the Fairfax County jail since Nov. 29.

On that night, with her husband and 22-year-old daughter in front of her as they walked on a fifth-floor bridge from the Tysons mall toward the parking lot, Dela Rosa allegedly scooped up Angelyn Ogdoc and dropped her over the railing. The incident was captured on surveillance video, officials familiar with the case said.

Angelyn fell about 50 feet, and survived for about nine hours. After she died, her grandmother was charged with murder.

On Monday morning, Dela Rosa's husband, Leandro, and sister were in the courtroom and ready to offer their support, Deputy Fairfax public defender Dawn M. Butorac said. She said Dela Rosa, who appeared alert and well-groomed, had lived in the D.C. area for 32 years, since emigrating from the Philippines, has been married for 29 years and has no criminal history. Butorac said members of Dela Rosa's church also had offered their support.

"The issue in this case is Ms. Dela Rosa's mental illness," Butorac said. She said Dela Rosa had been stabilized while in the Fairfax jail, taking the psychotropic drugs Prozac and Klonapin, and that prior to the episode at Tysons, "I don't think anyone took her mental illness as seriously as they should have."

Butorac said if Dela Rosa was released on bond, she would stay with her sister in Southwest Washington, not with her husband and teenaged son in Fairfax.

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Casey M. Lingan pointed out that Fairfax judges have little authority over people in the District. He reminded Chief Fairfax Juvenile Court Judge Thomas P. Mann that Dela Rosa "purposely threw a two-year-old child off of a skywalk at Tysons Corner," and that "this was a callous, premeditated act that shows nothing short of a depraved mind...the evidence is not going to be that she was insane at the time of the offense."

The judge said he had expected Butorac might suggest a transfer from jail to a mental health facility, "that would keep this lady safe, that would keep this community safe." Mann added that if Dela Rosa stayed in the District, "I've got no juice in the District of Columbia. I've got nothing. Once she's there, there's nothing I can do to get her back....I feel there is simply too much risk to the community."

Dela Rosa's preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 4. Her family members left the courtroom without commenting.

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