The mother of a 4-year-old girl found dead at barely 15 pounds in a squalid Brooklyn apartment was charged with assault yesterday after bruises found on the girls' body didn't match her claim that she suffered them in a fall. But as she was walked from the 81st Precinct office, Carlotta Brett-Pierce, 30, yelled, "I did not kill my baby!"

Marchella Pierce's autopsy results could mean more charges for Brett-Pierce, as Marchella was found with rope marks on her wrists and ankles. When police found her, her arms and legs were reportedly tied to the crib, and she appeared to have underdeveloped lungs. Her father says her lung problems were a result of her premature birth. Brett-Pierce was also charged with drug possession after marijuana and cocaine were found in her purse. According to some of her neighbors, this is no surprise.

Neighbor Elizabeth Soto said, "They were troublemakers . . . They would always open the door and throw things at you. You had to duck...All they would do was go out and buy drugs. Crack. You could smell it...The way they were living in that apartment, they would open that door and you'd get sick." However, another had a different story. Jaquan Kinsey told WCBS, “She’s a good parent. I don’t know what happened behind closed doors, but outdoors she was a good parent."

The family had been monitored by the Administration for Children’s Services since November, after Brett-Pierce gave birth to a boy with drugs in his system. Starting in January, the family was aided by the Child Development Support Corporation, but on Thursday, ACS accused the Corporation of not making the required number of visits. Brett-Pierce's two other children, sons aged 6 and nine months, are currently in ACS custody.