On Monday, a Queens mom was charged with strangling her 2-year-old son to death. Afriyie Gaspard, 29, has been charged with first and second-degree manslaughter, strangulation, assault and endangering the welfare of a child in the death of Izayah Hall, one of Gaspard's six children. According to the Post, Gaspard confessed to "squeezing" Izayah for "a minute...until he stopped crying" on August 10th. But before she confessed, the News reports Gaspard blamed her 7-year-old daughter for the death, repeatedly telling police she “hit or choked” the baby.
Gaspard had initially told arriving officers she "had taken a nap and, when she woke up, Izayah was unresponsive in his crib" on Friday, but the Medical Examiner found marks on the boy’s neck, and Gaspard was arrested Monday. According to WNYC, Gaspard has had her kids taken away on multiple occasion by ACS:
In 2008, her three oldest children were put into foster care after she was accused of leaving them unattended on two different occasions. The oldest child at the time was three. In 2009, a fourth child was placed in foster care shortly after birth, as was Izayah, who was born in 2010. Gaspard’s youngest child, an 11-month-old baby was not removed.
Gaspard's lawyer has already made comments indicating he believes the confession was coerced by police: “She was not in a good mental state of mind,” said attorney Edward Muccini. “She was traumatized." Her sister, Ebboni Gaspard, defended her to the Times Ledger: “What the NYPD did with my sister is completely unfair,” she said, claiming police have forced the confession. “My sister is a saint. She has walked among us devils. That’s how I feel sometimes.”
One neighbor, Magdalia Fonteur, told the Times that Gaspard “was stressed and overwhelmed” and “always looked like she had a lot in her head.” And in one Facebook post from May 22nd, she wrote: "Have'nt posted in a while, but Just been really stressing! Yo, ladies and gentelemen, I really need help! Yall hit me up ok?"