CHICAGO — A woman allegedly running an illegal babysitting service paid the family of a 4-month-old girl who died in her care, prosecutors said in court Monday.
Norma Chagnama, 29, was arrested Saturday at her home in the 4700 block of North Lawndale following the report of an unresponsive baby.
In bond court Monday, authorities outlined that Chagnama has been babysitting for the family of the 4-month-old girl since late 2022.
She was charged with first-degree murder after prosecutors believe she forcefully picked up the girl by the legs and threw the 4-month-old over her shoulder.
Changnama noticed the girl vomited and allegedly did not support her head as she picked the girl up and then “threw” her on the bed.
After the 4-month-old was allegedly thrown on the bed, she began having trouble breathing.
Prosecutors said Changnama, who is also accused of never filing a license to run a day care, then called the baby’s mother and she rushed over. The mother noticed the baby girl looked “limp” in Changnama’s arms and she began CPR.
The girl was rushed to Swedish Covenant Hospital in critical condition and then was later transported to Lutheran General in Park Ridge. At Lutheran General, staff told authorities that a CT scan showed a subdural hematoma and spinal cord injuries.
Doctors determined that her injuries came from abuse and she was taken off life support on early Friday morning.
The father of the girl contacted Changnama and her husband and told them that the 4-month-old had died, prosecutors said. Changnama and her husband then went to the couple’s apartment and told them they need to “trust the word of God,” prosecutors allege. Changnama then allegedly told the family she was sorry and gave them $2,000 to help with funeral expenses.
“We have a young woman who has never caused harm to any person, who sees this child is vomiting and immediately reacts,” her defense attorney countered.
He went on to say that the injuries may have been caused by the mother administering CPR.
While weighing whether to grant Changnama bond or not, the judge pointed to the exchange of $2,000.
“Could be an act of kindness,” she said. “Could be something else of a more nefarious nature.”
Changnama was denied bail and her next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 27.
On Sunday, WGN News reported that DCFS has prior contact with the family of the girl. In the bond hearing, DCFS had custody of the child for a few days after the parents left the girl inside a vehicle on the North Side. They were charged with misdemeanor child endangerment.