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8-Year-Old Flower Girl Found Dead; Mom Unconscious

PLAINVIEW, N.Y. (AP) - An 8-year-old who was supposed to be a flower girl in her cousin's wedding Saturday was found dead in her home, and her mother was found unconscious by her side in a possible suicide attempt, Nassau County police said.

The little girl was believed to have cerebral palsy, and there were no obvious signs of trauma to her body, said Lt. Kevin Smith. She lived in the basement apartment with her mother and father, who was not at home when the bodies were discovered, police said. The girl's grandmother owned the tan, two-story brick house in Plainview, on New York's Long Island, and lived upstairs, police said.

Smith said it's not clear exactly what happened to the girl, and the death is under investigation. The 31-year-old mother was found with a cord wrapped around her neck, and was hospitalized in stable condition, police said. Smith said she was alert and conscious.
It's not clear how long the pair had been in the basement during the hustle and bustle of the wedding day. The grandmother went downstairs to check on them, and found them. She called for another male relative, who tried to resuscitate the girl, and also tried to help the mother.

The wedding was for another grandchild of the woman, and a decorated wheelchair belonging to the girl was found at the home. Smith said several generations of the family, about eight people, lived there. No names have been released.

It's not clear if the girl's illness contributed to her death, and the medical examiner would determine a cause. Cerebral palsy is a term for a group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions like movement hearing, seeing, and thinking.

Neighbors reported hearing sirens and seeing police cars pull up during lunch Saturday. Detectives have been at the scene for hours gathering evidence, and the block remained closed Saturday evening.

``It's horrible for something like this to overshadow their wedding,'' said neighbor Jeff Schiller, who lives down the street from the girl's family.

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