Toddler suffered physical, sexual abuse

AMHERST, NY (WIVB) – Police are still trying to figure out what led up to 3-year-old Mayounda Smith’s death this past Saturday and who is responsible.

Amherst Police found the little girl unconscious in an apartment on Allenhurst Road around 9 a.m., and say most of her injuries weren’t visible.

Assistant Police Chief Charles Cohen said, “It’s my understanding there was bruising, but the injuries revealed by the autopsy were far more significant.”

The autopsy showed the toddler died from blunt force trauma and there were new and old signs of abuse, both physical and sexual.

Cohen said the girl’s mother and her boyfriend were home at the time along with another child about 1-year-old. Both adults were questioned but neither was arrested. The boyfriend now has a lawyer.

Amherst Police were scant on details during a press conference on Monday. Listen below to Cohen answering reporters’ questions:

Whitney Coleman didn’t know the family but lives right across the street. She said she’s unsure of what to make of the tragedy.

“I never even saw those people come out the front door,” she said. “It scares me for my baby to have to stand out here and know that someone across the street has done something to a 3-year-old.”

Police are asking the public to come forward with any information on the family.

“Obviously we have theories that we are pursuing but until we can determine probable cause to make an arrest, there’s not much else we can do. We are following up on leads and talking to everybody that we can talk to,” Cohen said. “Unequivocal deaths are very challenging to law enforcement. It’s a standard, it is what it is. If we bring a shoddy case to the district attorney, it’s not going to go anywhere anyway. So we have to cover all of our bases.”

And less than three days after Smith’s death, Cohen told News 4 he can’t say with confidence this case will be closed.

“I’m confident we’ll do everything we can, I cant guarantee there’s going to be an arrest,” he said.

Cohen said police had never been called to the apartment before the toddler’s death. Police say the 1-year-old child has been turned over to relatives of the mother.

Erie County Child Protective Services won’t release information on specific cases, but officials say they are aware of this case now. Officials are looking to see if their is a past history involving this family.

Police are asking for the public’s help. Anyone with information on the little girl’s family or what happened Saturday morning should call Amherst Police at 689-1360.

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