The system had separated Deasia Watkins from her infant, or at least tried to. A judge ruled earlier this month in juvenile court that “imminent risk of harm exists if the child returns to her surroundings,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
But now, that three-month-old child, Janiyah Watkins, is dead. Police believe she was beheaded by her own mother.
Deasia Watkins, 20, has been arrested and charged with aggravated murder in connection with the death, the Cincinnati Police Department said in a news release.
Police believe the incident occurred on either Sunday or Monday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Here’s how the Associated Press described the death:
The baby had been placed in an aunt’s custody, and a 5-year-old at the aunt’s house with other children to catch a school bus on Monday found the baby’s body on a kitchen counter, Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said. The aunt apparently was asleep, and the child ran outside for help from a male relative who had dropped them off, Deters said.
Police arriving in response to a 911 call found the baby decapitated and stabbed multiple times with a large chef’s knife.
In a 911 call released by the Cincinnati Police Department, a woman tried to explain to a dispatcher what happened.
“Somebody please send the police,” she said. “My niece killed our baby. Please.”
The caller became more emotional, and eventually a man took over the call, pleading for police to respond.
“Is the baby breathing?” asked the dispatcher, who apparently remained unclear about what had happened to the girl.
“Listen lady,” the man said. “The baby is deceased.”
As the man continued talking, the woman could be heard screaming in the background.
When asked to describe what he saw when he looked at the child, the man responded: “Look, lady. I don’t want to describe the scene. The [scene] is very, very bad, alright? The little baby’s head is open. Like, open open.
“I’m not going in there to touch nothing, because I don’t want to mess nothing up. I’m not going in there to look, because I’ve already seen it. But it’s very violent. It’s a very violent scene.”
Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters told reporters Tuesday that it was “one of the most disturbing cases I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Deters said the case was expected to go before a grand jury next week.
“At this point in time, I do not anticipate seeking a death penalty specification on this,” he said, “because it it has been pretty clear to the officers involved that she is suffering from some serious mental issues.”
Deters noted that Hamilton County’s Job and Family Services officials “did their job.”