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Cops: Mom fatally strangled baby with Halloween lights

OVIEDO, Fla. - A Florida woman was arrested Monday on murder charges in connection with the death of her 1-year-old daughter, who was found Thursday night with a strip of Halloween lights wrapped around her neck, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.

Oviedo, Florida police said Kristen DePasquale called 911 Thursday claiming she had taken a shower and left her daughter Mia and her 2-year-old son in the living room, where they were watching TV.

DePasquale said when she returned, she found her daughter, Mia, unresponsive with the braided string of pumpkin lights around her neck. The child’s feet were on the floor, but she was crouched, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The girl was reportedly pronounced dead about an hour later at the hospital.

DePasquale told police she heard her son apologizing for hurting his sister.

Police said, however, that there was no evidence that DePasquale took a shower and there were several inconsistencies in her statements. Police say the shower was dry, her feet were dirty and she was wearing makeup and jewelry, the paper reports.

Oviedo police said the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide by strangulation and the girl’s injuries appeared to be a result of more force than Mia’s toddler brother could have exerted. A mark on the back of the child’s neck that indicated someone had used a device to tighten the string of lights, the paper reported, citing an arrest report.

The woman was ordered held without bail. Her defense attorney Tim Caudill would not comment about her guilt or innocence, but told the Orlando Sentinel: “This is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved...She’s very upset. She lost a child, a child she loved very much.”

The 2-year-old boy was placed in the custody of a family member.

The father of the children is in prison on unrelated charges.

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