A young girl has died in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn today at 823 Madison Street. Her death was under very unusual circumstances. The child, Marchella Pierce, died tied to her crib with string. There were also signs of trauma on Marchella’s wrists, arms, and ankles. She weighed only 15 pounds at age 4, reports the New York Post
Marchella appears to have been underfed. The police said “Her legs are like sticks. You can see her ribs,” notes the NY Post. Investigators are not sure what caused her death; they have conflicting opinions at this point.
Marchella had underdeveloped lungs. An oxygen tank was found near her crib. It was not in use at the time investigators arrived on the scene.
Police report that the home was unclean. There are two other children in the home besides Marchella, two boys, one age 9 months and the other age 5. The family had previously met with the Administration for Children’s Services.
The mother, Carlotta Pierce, found the child unconscious. She waited from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. to contact the police. The NY Daily News reports that when Marchella was born her mother allegedly tested positive for marijuana.
Parenting: A Tough Job
Being a parent is an awesome responsibility. Some parents are up to the task and others are not. It is not clear what happened to Marchella. However, her very low weight suggests that she was not receiving proper nourishment.
As always when a child dies under unusual circumstances, questions arise about how neighbors, friends, and relatives did not notice that the child had a very low weight and take action. Also, how could this child have been so tiny without authorities stepping in to get her help?
Was Marchella getting adequate care with a doctor? Was any medical professional aware of her low weight?
Was Social Services on Top of this Case?
NYC is a very anonymous place sometimes. Did this child somehow escape notice and die alone without proper care? It is tragic to read about cases like this too late, when nothing can be done to help the child.
One thing is for sure. Social workers are overworked and underpaid. The social services program is always stressed, and especially now as most areas in the country are cutting back programs. This makes the vulnerable, such as children, even more at risk for abuse or neglect.
RIP Marchella Pierce.