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M.E. Rules Brooklyn Girl's Death A Homicide

NEW YORK (AP) -- The death of an emaciated 4-year-old Brooklyn girl found dead in her home last month has been ruled a homicide.

The city medical examiner's office said Friday that Marchella Pierce died of acute drug poisoning, blunt impact injuries, malnutrition and dehydration. They said she had antihistamines, including Benadryl, in her system.

Her mother, Carlotta Brett-Pierce, has been charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child and drug possession. Prosecutors say additional charges could be added.

Her lawyer, George Sheinberg, didn't immediately return a message.

The Administration for Children's Services, subcontractors and others responsible for monitoring the girl are under criminal investigation. ACS has said it's cooperating.

Marchella weighed 18 pounds when she died Sept. 2.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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