MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Funeral arrangements have been made for the Mount Vernon toddler that died under “unusual” circumstances last weekend, leading to the arrest of her mother.
Family and friends will host a wake and funeral for 15-month-old Samia Yusef on Monday at the Friendship Worship Center in Mount Vernon. Her mother, Dasia Bartee, was arraigned on manslaughter charges earlier this week and remains remanded to Westchester County Jail.
Shortly after 5:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, police responded to a Washington Street apartment on a 911 call, where they found the toddler unresponsive. First responders performed life-saving measures, but the child was declared dead less than a half hour later.
According to police, the investigation indicated that the toddler was dead for several hours. She sustained significant trauma to the face and suffered from internal bleeding, though the official cause of death has not been determined. When police arrived at the apartment, the “temperature of the toddler’s body was extremely cold, which indicates an unusual situation.”
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas’ press assistant said that the toddler was one of three children living in the apartment at the time of Bartee’s arrest.
“The Mount Vernon Police Department is investigating all avenues, including the possibility that the child’s body may have been placed in a freezer at some time,” she said in a statement. “Two other children in the home at the time were unharmed and placed in the custody of child protective services.”
Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Ronald Fatigate called the crime scene “gruesome,” and said that the department provided counseling for the officers involved.
“It was a gruesome discovery that shocked even our most senior officers on the job,” he said. “We are providing counseling services to all officers impacted on this case and are working even harder to strengthen our relationship with the community to help families in need. I commend our officers for their hard work in making an arrest in this case.”