Cops: NYC woman said she stepped on tot, who died

Cardell Williamson

CBS New York

NEW YORK - A New York City woman charged with killing a toddler in her care told police she threw the boy to the floor and stepped on him three times, authorities say.

Athena Skeeter, 40, a licensed child care professional who watches children at her apartment, was arraigned Sunday on charges of manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.

According to court documents, Skeeter told police she had been wrestling Friday with 20-month-old Cardell Williamson at her Bronx home after his father dropped him off.

Athena Skeeter
CBS New York

Police responding to a 911 call found Cardell lying on a bed, struggling to breathe. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide and said he died of blunt force trauma to his head and torso, CBS New York's radio affiliate 1010 WINS reported.

The child's father, Carlyle Williamson, told CBS New York the child was also scalded.

"I feel betrayed... for my baby to be abused the way he was is devastating to me," Williamson told the station.

"She claimed she put him in a tub with hot water," he added. "When I saw the pictures, my baby's burnt all the way from one side to another."

Williamson said his son would sometimes come home with bruises, but Skeeter always offered some kind of explanation for the injuries. Now, he wonders if he missed a pattern of abuse, according to the station.

Skeeter is in custody and is due back in court Thursday.