Mother, boyfriend questioned over baby’s death

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB) – Police in Jamestown are calling the death of a 16-month-old baby girl a homicide, and are now investigating to determine who’s responsible for her death.

On Friday, authorities identified the girl as Nayla Hodnett, who was taken to WCA Hospital by her 25-year-old mother Wednesday night. Nayla was later transferred by air to Women and Children’s Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.

“The mother has been cooperative with us.” – Jamestown Police Captain Robert Samuelson

Investigators say Nayla died of blunt force trauma. The child lived on Newland Avenue in Jamestown with her mother and 3-year-old brother, who has since been removed from the home by Chautauqua County Child Protective Services and is currently in foster care.

Police say the mother’s boyfriend occasionally stayed at the home. Detectives are speaking with the child’s mother and her 30-year-old boyfriend, among many others in the course of their investigation. Officers say the mother’s boyfriend is known to authorities.

Jamestown Police have also talked with about a dozen family members and acquaintances.

“We’re dealing with emotional situations, not only with family members but with friends that are also involved. That makes it a little more difficult for us as investigators to deal with,” Capt. Robert Samuelson said.


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News 4 has covered several stories in the past where a boyfriend lived at or occasionally stayed at a home where a child was killed


He added, “[The mother and boyfriend] are in the process of being interviewed. We have interviewed both of them and our investigation is still continuing with them. The mother has been cooperative with us.”

Right now, authorities say both are considered persons of interest.

News 4 asked if the boyfriend was alone with the baby at the time of the incident.

Capt. Samuelson responded, “That’s the part of the investigation that we are still working on. We’re still looking for specific details on that specific question right there.”

Police believe people are out there who have valuable information.

“We believe that they may have reached out to other family members or friends to possibly describe the sequence of events that occurred,” Capt. Samuelson explained.

If you have any information you are asked to call the 24-hour Jamestown Police Command Line at 483-7537 or the anonymous tip line at 483-8477.

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