HAMMOND, Ind. — Authorities in northwest Indiana say a five-month-old girl died less than a week after suffering blows to the head, and now law enforcement agencies in Lake County are investigating her death as a homicide.
After Anayelli Avina's mother called 9-1-1 around 7:30 p.m. on September 29, officials say the toddler was taken from their home in Hammond’s Hessville neighborhood to the hospital.
“The mother of the child called 9-1-1 and stated something was wrong with her baby,” said Lt. Steve Kellogg, Hammond Police Department.
Anayelli was transferred from St. Catherine's Hospital in East Chicago to Comer Children's Hospital, where she died on Saturday. After an autopsy, the Cook County Medical Examiner found she died from blunt force injuries to the head, and her death was ruled a homicide.
The baby’s death has shaken the Hammond neighborhood where it happened.
“To do something like that so dirty, it’s so it’s awful, it’s devastating to hear something like that,” neighbor Lori Silva said.
Now police are trying to determine what occurred before that 9-1-1 call.
The baby lived in a home with her mother and three siblings ages one, five and six. They are now in custody with the Indiana Department of Child Services, but the agency would not comment on the case.
“I talked to the mom, the children right now are in temporary state custody at this moment and everything is being looked at – all angles – of what could have happened to the infant,” Kellogg said.
So far no arrests have been made in this case, but one source says both the child’s mother and her boyfriend have been questioned. Both Hammond police and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office working on the case.
Authorities believe charges will be sent to the prosecutor soon. The mother is reportedly cooperating with the investigation.