Questions linger around death of two-month-old New Canaan resident
Published 12:36 pm, Wednesday, July 20, 2016
NEW CANAAN — More than a week after the death of two-month-old Bella Redondo, family, friends and police are still looking for answers as to what caused the head trauma that ultimately stopped the child’s breathing.
“Every indication I’ve received around town, based on everyone I’ve spoken to, is that people are devastated,” First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said of Redondo’s death. She lived in a Locust Avenue apartment with her mother, father, two sisters and brother.
Though New Canaan police are not involved in the investigation, Mallozzi said that Human Services has offered support in the form of diaper drop-offs for the Redondos.
Friends and family of the baby have also launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral costs and the parents’ lost wages for missed work. As of Tuesday evening, 181 donors had raised more than $15,000 toward the page’s $16,000 goal.
“The family was completely unprepared for such a loss of a child at such a young age,” page organizer Becky DaMenace wrote. “The Redondo family would like to take Bella back to her father’s hometown and bury her with her grandmother in Florida.”
Mark Sherman, an attorney for the Redondo family, told Hearst Connecticut the family would not be making any comment on the investigation. “The family is appreciative of all the community support and asks for privacy during this difficult time,” Sherman said.
As the investigation into Redondo’s death continues - it has been ruled a homicide as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head, police said - continues, police are focusing more intently on the East Side home day care center where Redondo had trouble breathing last week. She died several hours later at Stamford Hospital.
Early Childhood Commissioner Myra Jones-Taylor has suspended the license of Nydia Carrillo, who runs Little Beginnings Daycare, where Redondo had been dropped off by her father on the morning of July 12.
In Stamford, Police Lt. Diedrich Hohn said investigators have identified three persons of interest who were at the daycare when the baby had trouble breathing last Tuesday afternoon.
Carrillo, her husband, Alexander Corleto, and her sister, Claudia Carrillo, are listed as working at the facility, located on the second floor of a multi-family home on Wardwell Street. However, police have declined to say if they are being investigated as suspects.
“There is a large net of people that need to be interviewed in order to get their observations down,” Capt. Richard Conklin said. Investigators are also waiting for medical reports and talking to medical experts while trying to “lock in” a time span for baby Bella’s injuries.
Unannounced inspections on multiple occasions conducted by the Office of Early Childhood turned up hazardous conditions at Little Bears, including a curling iron plugged into a lamp in a bedroom where a child was sleeping on the floor and electrical outlets found without covers near a bathroom, documents show. Carillo was required to complete a “corrective action plan,” but subsequent inspections revealed more hazards.
However, according to Maggie Adair, of the state’s Office of Early Childhood, the department responsible for licensing, inspection and supervision of day cares, none of the violations warranted suspending the license of Little Bears.
Adair said the office tries to work with day care facilities in these types of cases to help improve their programs. Adair declined to comment further about the Stamford day care until the criminal investigation is completed.
Carrillo was issued a family child care license in April 2015, according to the state’s licensing database. The day care, which many neighbors didn’t know existed, is allowed to have up to six children 12 years old or younger.
Christian Bujdud, an attorney representing Carrillo and her husband, said his clients have a hearing scheduled for July 28 before the Office of Early Childhood to contest the license suspension.
“I don‘t understand the relevance of those previous violations, that have already been corrected, have to do with the current case at hand,” he said Monday when asked about the inspections.
Bujdud said last week the baby could have suffered the head injury before arriving at the day care last Tuesday.
Hohn said the parents told police their daughter was in perfect health when she was dropped off between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. and that the baby had trouble breathing when an ambulance was called to the day care at 3:12 p.m. Tuesday. The child arrived at the hospital at 3:40 p.m. and stopped breathing, he said.
Doctors tried for hours to resuscitate the baby before pronouncing her dead at 6:20 p.m., Hohn said.
Police said they were not notified until 6:27 p.m. even though there was “evidence of head trauma in addition to the breathing issues” when medics arrived at the day care. Hohn said the delayed notification has hampered the police investigation.
“We are proceeding closely with State’s Attorney Colangelo and conferring with him on this investigation. I do not believe an arrest is imminent,” Conklin said. He added that the investigators are moving rapidly, conducting several interviews a day as well as making appointments for a number of upcoming interviews. In addition to medical experts, police are speaking to Redondo’s family members, hospital workers, medics and anyone who came into contact with Bella during the last day of her life, according to Conklin.
“Certainly on a personal level it’s one of the saddest stories that’s come across my desk in the past five or six years,” Mallozzi said.