Lancaster, SC – A woman was arrested in the brutal beating death of a 3-year-old girl, whose injuries were so severe that she “died within minutes,” police said.
Kayla Cook, 25, was charged with homicide by child abuse on Dec. 29, 2017, WBTV reported.
Investigators with the Lancaster Police Department (LPD) were called to a residence just after 12 p.m. on Dec. 18, 2017, and found 3-year-old Lillian Schroeder “lying on her back in the living room unresponsive,” WBTV reported.
She had no pulse or signs of respiration, WSOC-TV reported.
Police and emergency medical personnel performed CPR on the little girl, who was rushed to a local hospital in a police cruiser, but Schroeder was pronounced dead at approximately 1:30 p.m.
Cook, who was the live-in girlfriend of Schroeder’s father, was caring for the toddler while he was at work, LPD Chief Scott Grant told The Herald.
She claimed that she put the little girl in the bathtub, and that when she returned to check on her, Schroeder was “unresponsive but looking around and breathing,” Cook’s arrest warrant stated, according to the Herald.
Cook asked a neighbor too call 911, and said the child was “not acting right.”
Following her death, medical personnel found numerous bruises on several areas of Schroeder’s body, WSOC-TV reported.
According to her autopsy, the toddler died from a cerebral edema caused by blunt force trauma to her head.
She died within minutes of the assault.
“This tragic incident has taken a heavy toll on the families involved. It has touched a lot of people, including the community, first responders, officers and investigators involved as well,” Chief Grant told WBTV. “We will continue to speak for the young victim in this case as it moves forward through the judicial process.”
Schroeder’s funeral was held on Dec. 23, 2017, according to The Herald.
Cook was apprehended on Dec. 29, 2017, in Cleveland County, North Carolina, and was transported back to Lancaster on Tuesday, The Herald reported.
She is being held without bond.