Livermore police recommend murder charges in 2-year-old's death

Toddler had injuries consistent with severe physical abuse, police spokesman says

Livermore police are recommending murder charges against the caretaker of a 23-month-old girl who died from suspected physical abuse, police spokesman Lt. Matt Sarsfield said late Thursday.

Sarsfield said 54-year-old Mary Downing was arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court on Tuesday on charges of attempted murder and assault to a child under the age of 8 causing great bodily injury or death.

The girl, whose name isn't being released by police, was declared brain dead after officers were called to Downing's home at 2142 Percheron Road about 12:40 a.m. Saturday and found that she was unresponsive and had injuries consistent with severe physical abuse, Sarsfield said.

The child is the granddaughter of Downing's fiance.

The girl died at Children's Hospital Oakland Wednesday night after being removed from life support and police are now asking the district

attorney's office to upgrade the charges against Downing to murder, Sarsfield said.

An autopsy was performed on the girl today and a coroner's report is expected to be completed on Friday, according to Sarsfield.

Livermore police are likely to present an updated report on their investigation to the district attorney for new charges on Monday, he said.

Downing, who is being held without bail at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, is scheduled to return to court next week.

In a separate suspicious child death case, Sarsfield said police are still waiting for the results of post-autopsy tests in the death of a 2-month-old boy who was found unresponsive when police were called to a home in the 1900 block of Spruce Street about 5 a.m. on March 19. The child died at Valley Care Hospital.

Sarsfield said the child's mother, Jessica Adams, 24, was arrested for violating her parole by being under the influence of narcotics, according to police.

He said Adams admitted to using narcotics up to the day before the boy died.

Sarsfield said police are investigating whether Adams exposed the boy to dangerous situations that caused his death.

Adams' previous conviction was for forgery and fraud, according to Sarsfield.

--Bay City News

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