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Police: Girl Dies, Sister Injured in Punishment For Eating Candy

February 17, 1992

NEW YORK (AP) _ A 6-year-old girl died and her 4-year-old sister was critically injured by punishment their aunt inflicted on them for eating some of the woman’s Valentine’s Day candy, police said Monday.

The aunt, Maryann Ayala, 36, was ordered held without bail on charges of second-degree murder in the death of Millisen Ayala and attempted murder in the injury of her younger sister, Stephanie.

Lt. John Brown, commander of the 52nd Precinct detective squad, said the girls apparently ate some Valentine’s chocolates, which had been given to Mrs. Ayala but had been left in the bedroom the girls shared with the woman’s 15- year-old daughter, Flora.

Brown said Flora discovered the missing candy and scolded the girls. Mrs. Ayala heard the commotion, hit the girls with a shoe, grabbed them by their necks and forced them to sit in ice-cold bath water for 30 minutes, he said.

Court papers said the cold bath caused Millisen’s body temperature to fall below 85 degrees and caused Stephanie to lose conciousness.

Brown said Mrs. Ayala then told Millisen to get dressed, and taped her mouth shut to stop her moaning. When the teen-ager noticed the girl wasn’t breathing, Mrs. Ayala took her to Montefiore Hospital, telling doctors the girl had slipped in the tub.

Millisen died at the hospital. Results of an autopsy were expected Tuesday, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the city’s medical examiner.

Stephanie was listed in critical but stable condition in an intensive care unit.

The aunt was made the girls’ foster mother three years ago because their mother was a crack addict, police said.

Brown said the precinct didn’t have any records of previous child abuse complaints against Mrs. Ayala.

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