A 2-year-old girl survived four days in a parked sport utility vehicle with the body of her slain mother, police said.
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said Friday that authorities were investigating the apparent mishandling of a 911 call that could have led to the rescue of Rosie Batista a day earlier.
The little girl, who had been strapped into a child's seat, was hospitalized for dehydration and was in stable condition.
Leonardo Almonte, 32, was arrested Friday on murder, kidnapping and reckless endangerment charges. Police said he lived with the child's mother, Cesarina Colon, 32, but was not Rosie's father.
Investigators said they believe Almonte killed Colon by throwing her to the floor and choking her during an argument Saturday at their Queens home. He allegedly dumped her body in the passenger seat of a SUV, placed the child in the back seat and drove to a remote street about a mile away.
A security camera at a nearby business recorded Almonte parking the vehicle early Sunday, police said. A coat had been thrown over Colon's head.
About midday Wednesday, a passerby called 911 after spotting the child in the vehicle. Officers received only a report of a suspicious vehicle, and did not notice any trouble, Kelly said.
"The caller spoke specifically about a baby in the car," Kelly said. "However, the dispatcher did not give that information to the responding radio car. We're investigating that aspect of it."
Firefighters found the baby after a second 911 call Thursday from a friend of Colon.
Almonte faces a possible life sentence if convicted.