2006_01_brownmourners.jpgYesterday, New Yorkers flocked to the East Village to pay their respects to Nixzmary Brown, whose small 7 year old body was shown in an open casket wake at the First Avenue Ortiz Funeral Home. Brown, who was killed in an abusive fit by her stepfather Cesar Rodriguez as her mother Nixzaliz Santiago stood by, has become the symbol for everything that could be wrong with the city's protective services for children. Brown's relatives described Nixzmary as looking like "an angel" in her casket, but there were sparks when Rodriguez's sister appeared. Mourners derided the system for letting the child down, and Mayor Bloomberg said that the city will conduct a full investigation to understand "exactly how this breakdown occured. People will be held accountable for their actions." Hmm, we wonder if the Mayor will go to the wake or funeral. The Post says that many Administration for Children's Service workers will be suspended as a result of this tragedy, while the Daily News reports the NYPD claims they never spoke to Nixzmary when detective accompanied ACS caseworkers to her apartment, which may have implications about whether or not the NYPD did everything it could have.

The big difference seems to be that ACS caseworkers decided not to get a warrant to give them access to see Brown, after visits where they were blocked by Rodriguez.

The ACS is noting a 77% increase in child abuse calls after news of Brown's death. And a DA says some of Brown's siblings were abused also. There is a wake scheduled at the Ortiz Funeral Home today as well, with a funeral tomorrow at St. Mary's Church on Grand Street. Brown will be buried in New Jersey.

Photograph of mourners outside the funeral home from Newsday