Yesterday, Nixzaliz Santiago, the mother of 7 year old Nixzmary Brown who was killed at the abusive hands of Santiago's boyfriend Cesar Rodriguez - and Santiago herself - granted jailhouse interviews with the Daily News and NY Post. She tells the Daily News that she still loved Rodriguez. She does admit that she saw/heard Rodriguez "punish" Brown that fateful night (dunking the 36 pound child in the water-filled bathtub, hitting her head against the faucet) - but went to sleep afterward. She says she was afraid of Rodriguez beating her; she also said that other female inmates at Rikers have threatened to kill her.
Santiago told the Post that Brown "had an attitude" - which is why Rodriguez would isolate her from the other children in the family. She said she didn't think Rodriguez was especially abusive and claims he never sexually abused her daughter or tied her up in a chair (a chair with ropes tied to it was found in the apartment). Both articles are particularly disturbing, because they paint a horrifying picture of spousal/partner abuse, abuse to children, and a culture of the home where the other children seem to have pointed to Brown whenever sometihng would go wrong so she could take the blame.
Various city agencies met yesterday afternoon to understand how the case seemed to have fallen through people's hands - and the NY Times says that the NYPD's role in the case is unclear, as there are conflicting reports about the level of their involvement in these kinds of cases. But most of the blame seems to be swirling around the "inaction" of the Administration for Children's Services. Rodriguez will undergo psychiatric evaluations at Bellevue. A wake is scheduled at the Ortiz Funeral Home in Manhattan at 22 First Avenue today and tomorrow and her funeral is planned for St. Mary's Church on Grand Street on Wednesday.
Photograph of a tribute to Brown outside her apartment from Newsday