DA charges Fairmount woman for brutal abuse, death of 4-year-old girl

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has announced murder charges against a Fairmount woman accused of brutally abusing a 4-year-old girl in her care. 

Samilya Brown, 38, has been charged with murder, endangering the welfare of a child and other related charges in the death of 4-year-old Zya Singleton. 

On the afternoon of Oct. 30 near Folsom and Francis streets, police originally reported a 4-year-old girl was critically injured after she fell out of a second-floor bedroom window. Brown told officers she fell after after playing with a cat and landed on chairs below. 

However, Brown lied to police. Authorities say she never fell out of a window, and her injuries were consistent with severe physical abuse.

When police arrived on the scene, they said Zya was still alive. They found her in cold water in a bathtub with many injuries to her face. 

But at the hospital, a medical examination at CHOP revealed Zya’s wounds on her lips and mouth had already healed — inconsistent with Brown’s account. 

None of the other kids in the home appeared to be abused.

Zya later died from her injuries at the hospital on Nov. 3. 

The medical examiner found further evidence of abuse, including bite marks; open wounds to her face and scalp; large burns to her left arm and thigh; puncture wounds; signs of malnourishment; and broken bones from some sort of restraints.

Some of Zya’s injuries had apparently been treated with homemade stitches, according to the DA’s Office, which may have contributed to a severe infection.

"She abused her, stitched her up, abused her again, stitched her up, abused her again, stitched her up," said Chelsey Lightley, assistant district attorney of the Homicide Unit.

"Burned her with some kind of scalding liquid, patched her up at home. Burned her again, another part of her body with scalding liquid, patched her up at home," Lightley said. 

“This is a horrific, heartbreaking case of abuse, neglect, and murder of an innocent, defenseless child,” added Krasner in a statement. “All children deserve care, protection, and love – no matter the circumstances of how they come into this world.”

Brown has four other biological children who have since been relocated with other family members.


This is a developing story. Stay with KYW Newsradio for the latest.
KYW Newsradio's Rachel Kurland contributed to this report.