Two Philly women charged in ‘horrific’ beating death of 2-year-old

Siren light on roof of police car at street.


Two Philadelphia women are facing murder charges for allegedly beating a two-year-old girl to death in the Tacony section of the city.

Prosecutors say Yaritza Cirilo-Fuentes, the child’s godmother, and roommate Helen Smith were arrested Saturday. Police discovered the toddler’s body Thursday afternoon on the 6300 block of Marsden Street.

Assistant District Attorney Chesley Lightsey said Monday that the girl, identified only by her first name, Yatzirys, appeared to have “punch marks” on the top of her head, as well as bruises from “her toes all the way up her body, including her face.”

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“We have reason to believe, based on my conversations with the Medical Examiner’s Office, that this was going on for a long time,” said Lightsey during a news conference.

The child had been living with Cirilo-Fuentes and Smith since approximately November, said Lightsey. She said the girl’s mother left her child in their care for “various reasons,” but would not elaborate.

“She believed the child would be safe there and obviously that belief was wrong,” said Lightsey, adding that the child’s mother is cooperating with investigators.

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In addition to murder, Cirilo-Fuentes and Smith are charged with consipracy, corruption of minors, and other offenses. Cirilo-Fuentes, the girl’s primary caregiver, is also charged with endangering the welfare of children.

Both women are being held without bail, according to court records.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 30.

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