Prosecutors charged a Westminster mother with murder after she allegedly drowned her 9-year-old daughter in a bathtub.
The girl used a wheelchair and could not speak. Authorities said the 32-year-old left her daughter's lifeless body in the bathtub for several days. When investigators entered Khadiyjah Aliyyah Pendergraph's apartment last week, they found the child's body decomposing.
"Words simply do not exist to express the utter heartbreak knowing this little girl could not even scream for help as her mother pushed her underwater and cut her life so tragically and so unnecessarily short," Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.
Police arrested Pendergraph on Friday in a grocery store parking lot in Aliso Viejo after the girl's father called police to file a missing persons report for his 9-year-old daughter Victoria.
The father became worried about his child's safety after he received several concerning messages from his ex-wife mentioning his daughter. He also tried to pick up Victoria on Thanksgiving but Pendergraph's apartment was locked and no one answered the door.
"While families across America sat down to Thanksgiving dinner with their loved ones, this little disabled girl's lifeless body was left to rot in a bathtub after being drowned by her own mother," Spitzer said.
If convicted, Pendergraph faces 25 years to life in prison.
for more features.