NEWARK - Neighbors joined the family of a toddler who died when a woman who was supposed to be watching her allegedly abandoned her.
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray says the baby sitter, 38-year-old Sakita Covington, was charged with four counts of child endangerment and aggravated assault.
Police were dispatched at around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday to the Bradley Court apartments on North Munn Avenue for an injured child.
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Officers arrived on the scene and found 4-year-old Naira Bennett unresponsive. Police say Covington left the 4-year-old and three of her own very young children unattended.
A neighbor who did not want to be identified told News 12 New Jersey that Covington left suddenly and asked her to watch the children. "She had come downstairs and gave my daughter the keys and left the kids in the house by themselves," she says. "When I got upstairs, the baby was under the futon."
Police say they are not sure how Naira got under the futon.
The toddler was rushed to University Hospital, where she later died, Murray says.
Naira's aunt, Theresa Ellis was joined by dozens of family, friends, and community members to pray, sing and try to heal after losing "Kid Cuddie," the affectionate nickname given to the girl.
The cause and manner of death are pending an autopsy.
The other children in the home were not injured.