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Neighbors Claim Mom May Have Been Working At Strip Club During Brooklyn Fire That Killed 2-Year-Old Girl

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Authorities on Wednesday were trying to determine where a mother was while her 2-year-old daughter died in a house fire in Brooklyn.

Kalenah Muldrow was found dead under a bed. Neighbors told CBS2's Alice Gainer that the little girl's mother, Leila Aquino, is a stripper and may have been at work, or out with friends, when the blaze tore through the home at 755 Monroe St. in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

CBS2 reports a hysterical Aquino showed up early Tuesday morning looking for Kalenah hours after firefighters put out the flames. That's when they went back inside and discovered the girl's body.

Neighbors told CBS2 that they were shocked at what happened.

"They didn't really know to look for anyone at the time, but then she showed up and that's when they went back inside and searched further," witness Martin Alicea said.

"That's a sign of being scared right there. You're found underneath your bed, you don't know what's going on," neighbor Malcolm Yates told CBS2. "I could imagine the first thing she was looking for when she woke up was her mother. Like, where's my mom?"

The toddler's cousin, Lisa Robinson, described her as "a beautiful, 2-year-old girl."

Aquino was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment in connection with the death of her daughter, police said.

She was led out of the 81st police precinct in handcuffs Wednesday morning refusing to answer any questions, and was arraigned in court Wednesday night.

The fire broke out around 7 a.m.

CBS2 reports Aquino originally told police she left her daughter with a babysitter, but later admitted to leaving Kalenah alone in the house with the television on.

Sources also told CBS2 that last week, the administration for Children's Services received a report that Aquino was at work stripping and left her daughter home alone.

Police said Aquino has four prior arrests dating back to 2011 for robbery with a weapon, false reporting of an incident and criminal possession of stolen property.

Family members couldn't account for the mother's whereabouts that morning.

The medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death.

It's still not clear what sparked the blaze.

The FDNY is conducting their own investigation as to why firefighters didn't check under the beds initially. It is routine to check under the beds for children.

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