New York Daily News: MANHATTAN – The death of a 2-year-old girl in a Harlem homeless shelter has been deemed a homicide after tests proved she died of a drug overdose after attending a picnic sponsored by her mother’s Methadone clinic, police and sources said Friday.
Cops found little Mariya Huebler unconscious and unresponsive when they were called to the shelter at 30 Hamilton Place at about 11:40pm on June 7, 2021, authorities said.
EMS rushed the tot to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital, but she couldn’t be saved.
No injuries were found on Mariya’s body, but an autopsy later revealed she had died from “acute Methadone intoxication,” a spokeswoman for the city’s Medical Examiner said. Traces of the drug were found in the girl’s stomach during the autopsy, according to a law enforcement source.
Mariya’s mother Jedidah Bailey called 911 when her child fell unconscious, police said.
Bailey and Mariya had lived in the shelter for about six months before the child died, heartbroken relatives said. No other adults or children were living in the unit at the time of the death, a law enforcement source said.
“She used to have this duck toy she really liked and this guitar,” Mariya’s aunt Kamali Bailey told the Daily News. “She liked shopping carts and stuff like that. My mom would call her a little old lady.
“(She was) the average little girl. She liked clothes and hair and she would always watch me get ready,” the 21-year-old aunt recalled, tearing up. “She was really quiet too, she never really cried.”
Attempts to reach Mariya’s mom were unsuccessful Friday.
Eighteen months after her daughter’s death, Jedidah Bailey was “doing the best she can,” the aunt said.
“Life has been different but the only way I’ve been able to cope with it is I’ve been spiritually in tune,” Kamali Bailey said. “I understand death is a part of life but honestly I just try not to think about it too much.”
It was not immediately clear how the tot fell victim the lethal dose of Methadone. Investigators have reached out to an independent lab to determine how much of the drug the child received.
Bailey has been arrested three times for drug possession, according to a law enforcement source, however, she has never done any prison time and the cases are sealed.
Cops interviewed Bailey, who routinely goes to a Methadone clinic, a police source with knowledge of the case said.
The morning Mariya died, the mom and daughter attended a picnic sponsored by the Methadone clinic, the mom told to investigators.
No arrests have been made. At this point the mom is not considered a person of interest in her daughter’s death, a police source said.
It’s also not clear if Bailey was being investigated by the city’s Administration for Children’s Services before her daughter’s death. An email to ACS for comment was not immediately returned.
After Mariya died, Jedidah received nearly $4,000 in donations to hold a funeral for her daughter.
“This tragedy has not only just affected me but many others,” she wrote on a GoFundMe post seeking donations. “Mariya was loved so deeply , it hurts to acknowledge that she is physically not with us no more. Anyone who knew me knew how much I loved my daughter, how much of a hands-on mother I was to Mariya. I still cannot believe this is real.”
The shelter is run by HELP USA, a non-profit organization founded by Gov. Cuomo in the 1980s. His sister, Maria Cuomo Cole, chairs the board of directors.
In the early 2010s, the shelter was plagued by deteriorating safety and health conditions, including damaged walls, poor housekeeping and crib-related problems. In February 2014, a 3-month-old girl died after she was rushed from the shelter in cardiac arrest.
As of this Sept. 30, the shelter had no open violations, according to the Department of Homeless Services website.
A call to the shelter was not immediately returned.
Top Feature Photo: HELP USA, a Harlem homeless shelter, where a 2-year-old girl was found lifeless in June 2021 – Google Maps