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Affidavit: Wichita mother, charged with murder, admits putting hands around toddler’s neck

Wichita mother kills 1-year-old
Wichita mother kills 1-year-old(KWCH)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 5:17 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - New information from the Wichita Police Department details the case against a Wichita mother, facing charges of felony murder and child abuse in the death of her 13-month-old daughter. Police arrested 27-year-old Neriah Dilley in connections with noticeable injuries and death of the toddler. An affidavit in the case gives a timeline in the case, detailing events leading up to Dilley’s arrest. In speaking with police, Dilley ultimately admitted to putting her hands around her daughter’s neck and covering her mouth.

A little after 3 p.m. Oct. 9, the Wichita Fire Department and Sedgwick County EMS responded to a report of a child not breathing. When first responders arrived, they found Dilley attempting to revive a toddler later identified as Myonna Townley.

“The responders noticed multiple bruises to Townley, including what appeared to be ligature marks on her neck,” the affidavit says. “They had dispatch notify the Wichita Police Department.”

When WPD officers talked to Dilley, the affidavit says the mother said she put Townley down for a nap and had gone to sleep herself in a nearby bed. She said she woke up to Townley gasping for air, started CPR and called 911. She explained that bruises on the toddler were “from prior events,” the affidavit said. Dilley described one event in which Townley was pushed out of a chair, causing bruising and scrapes to the toddler’s side. She said she did not seek medical treatment for the toddler’s injuries.

Townley was taken to Wesley Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead a little after 5 p.m. Oct. 9. The affidavit says a doctor told Wichita police “that a CT scan of Townley showed a diffused brain injury consistent with a lack of oxygen. He also saw a displaced fracture of the front of the mandible (jaw) and a possible subdural hematoma.”

The next day, Oct. 10, a doctor performed an autopsy on the toddler “and noted in his preliminary observations that the child had suffered multiple [areas] of blunt force trauma, multiple contusions, subdural hemorrhages, and a fractured mandible.” The affidavit said the manner of death was determined to be homicide.

In an interview with detectives, the affidavit said Dilley told them “she was overwhelmed with Townley crying all the time,” and admitted and demonstrated how she put both of her hands around the toddler’s throat.

“[Dilley] stated she used two hands and held one hand over Townley’s mouth,” the affidavit said. “[She] thought that Townley was alright after the incident, but after 20 minutes, began having trouble breathing. [Dilley] then called called 911. [She] advised she was sorry, and would take it all back if she could.”

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