A mother has been arrested after her infant daughter was found beaten to death in her basement and the girl’s twin brother was taken to hospital in critical condition.
Tina Torabi, 30, a mother-of-five who lives in Queens and has a history of drug abuse, was arrested around 10pm on Wednesday after calling police to her home.
Officers arrived to find 13-month-old Elaina with burns, open wounds on her upper body and thighs and bruising, while brother Keon was suffering fractured ribs, a broken leg, a laceration to his liver, and more lacerations all over his body.
Both children suffered bruising to their groins, while medics said Elaina’s body showed signs of past trauma.
The pair were taken to hospital where Elaina was pronounced dead, while Keon is being kept in intensive care, the New York Daily News reports.
Their older siblings – Mila, two, Nadia, four, and Ariana, five – were also taken from the home and are now in the care of children’s services, the New York Post says.
Concerns were raised about the children’s welfare from the moment of their birth when opioids were found in their systems.
Torabi has been under the watchful eye of city child services ever since, with workers reportedly visiting her home two days before the children were attacked.
The Daily News reports the infants were taken away from Torabi to be raised by her mother for six months, until the older woman moved back to Texas.
Torabi has links to Houston, the New York Times reports, though it is not clear when she moved to New York.
The twins’ father – Mohammad Torabi – has been married to Torabi for three years but is estranged from the family.
He was previously arrested for choking Torabi, and she filed for an order of protection against him.
He also has a prior conviction from 2015 for assault against a family member and is currently wanted in Nashville for failure to pay child support.
However, he was not at home at the time of the beatings and is not considered a suspect in the case.
The Daily News reports that Torabi broke down in tears on the sidewalk as her dead and dying children were loaded into nearby ambulances.
She was questioned by officers throughout the day on Thursday, but refused to give answers about their wounds.
Investigators have since charged her with felony assault against Keon while awaiting an autopsy report from Elaina before pressing further charges.
Judanna Cavallo, a neighbor, said she was stunned to learn Torabi was a suspect in the beatings, saying she was a dedicated mother.
‘[She was an] absolutely a beautiful person who adored her children,’ Cavallo said. ‘They were always well kept, and nicely dressed, and well taken care of.’