(USNewsMag.com) – On Nov. 28, Khadiyjah Aliyyah Pendergraph, 32, was charged with murder for allegedly drowning her disabled, 9-year-old daughter in a bathtub. The body of Pendergraph’s daughter, Victoria, was found in their apartment in Westminster on Nov. 24, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Victoria was wheelchair-bound and nonverbal.
When Victoria’s father attempted to pick her up on Thanksgiving, as scheduled, he found the apartment door locked. Nobody answered the door when he knocked. He then reported his daughter missing and requested a welfare check be conducted after receiving messages from his ex-wife that made him concerned about the safety of their daughter.
Victoria’s body was discovered by police, who had forced their way into the home when conducting the welfare check. Her body was found decomposing in the bathtub with signs of trauma, according to Sgt. Edward Esqueda. Victoria was killed on Nov. 19, and her body was left in the bathtub until it was found on Nov. 24, according to the criminal complaint.
Pendergraph was arrested on Nov. 24 in Aliso Viejo in the parking lot of a grocery store. Prosecutors said that Pendergraph has claimed she attempted to commit suicide at least once in the days after her daughter’s death.
In a statement, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said that it was heartbreaking to know that Victoria was unable to “even scream for help” as her own mother “pushed her underwater,” cutting her life “so tragically and so unnecessarily short.” He added that as families sat down forOn Thanksgiving, “this little disabled girl’s lifeless body” was left decomposing after her own mother drowned her.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Dave Porter is prosecuting the case. Pendergraph was charged with one count of felony murder. She did not enter a plea during her Nov. 28 court appearance, and she will return to court on Dec. 15. If convicted, Pendergraph could face a maximum prison sentence of 25 years to life.
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