Pictures of 5-month-old Anayelli Avina were pressed up against the window of her Hammond home Monday after police said the girl died Saturday, days after being beaten.
Neighbors down the 6400 block of New Hampshire Avenue are stunned to learn about the infant’s death.
“It’s definitely sad, I feel bad for them,” said Cheryl Homans, one of the nearby neighbors.
First responders were called to the home on Monday.
“Last week we got a 911 call from a mother stating that something was wrong with her baby, the fire department arrived, and took and transported the baby to the hospital to St. Catherine’s Hospital in East Chicago,” said. Lt. Steve Kellogg, Hammond Police Public Information officer.
The baby girl was then taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, where she was pronounced dead at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
Avina was just weeks shy of turning 6 months.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said she died from blunt force injuries to her head.
An autopsy conducted Sunday ruled the infant’s death a homicide, the medical examiner’s office said.
“Our detectives will put all of that information together and present that information to the Lake County prosecutor’s office and then they’ll determine what charges if any will go forward from that point,” Lt. Kellogg said.
Hammond police said the infant’s three siblings have been taken into custody by the Indiana Department of Child Services, while neighbors are beginning to reflect on encounters with the mother and her children.
“I noticed she was putting the baby and the kids in the car and I had said to her that the child was kind of underweight,” said Yovanne Horvath, another neighbor. “She just gave me a dirty look and started dragging the kids, really bad dragging into the van and that.”
Community members are still waiting to hear more about what happened to the girl.
“I’m so sorry to hear about the baby,” Horvath continued. “I mean, a life cut so short and they didn’t deserve it.”