A 31-year-old woman was charged yesterday with stabbing a 3-year-old girl to death in the basement of an Alexandria apartment complex.

Mariam Jesela Mejia was being held without bond on a murder charge following discovery of the victim, Cynthia Veronica Venzor, in an empty storage bin at the apartments near Landmark Shopping Center.

Police said the child was pronounced dead on arrival at Alexandria Hospital, having suffered multiple stab wounds to the face, neck, arms and hands with what police described as a "small kitchen knife."

Police said the father, construction worker Hustiono Venzor, and the mother, Gladys Venzor, were both at work when the child's body was discovered at 9:30 a.m.

They said Mejia had been living with the Venzors for several days in their apartment at 324 S. Whiting St., but that she was not a relative of the parents.

A police spokesman said a knife was found near the body. He said that Mejia was arrested shortly afterward "just walking on down the road" about four blocks away.

Police said they were unable to give any motives for the stabbing. They also said they did not know why Mejia was living in the Venzor apartment, which is also occupied by a grandmother of the victim.

An autopsy is scheduled for today. Mejia is scheduled to appear in Alexandria's general district court on Monday for a preliminary hearing.