Petersburg mother charged in connection to daughter's death

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) – We now know the cause of death involving a Petersburg toddler.

Late Monday afternoon the medical examiner's office ruled the toddler's death natural. They say the 2-year-old, Akeelah, died from complication congenital heart defect. Now, the little girl's mother, 31 year old Shavonda Turner, is facing a felony charge for what police say she "did not" do.

"The little girl seemed happy-go-lucky. The mom took her everywhere. She never left her by herself," said family acquaintance, Mary Childress.

Police say emergency crews were called to the Crater Inn Motel around 6:15 Friday evening. It's where Turner and the toddler lived. Turner reported that the little girl had a seizure.

"She looked healthy to me, but she was a small baby," said Childress.

2-year-old Akeelah was rushed to Southside Regional Medical Center where she died.

"It shocked me -- it did it shocked me when I came to work and found out they were gone," said Childress.

Police say Turner faces one felony count in the little girl's death because she admitted to police that her daughter displayed breathing problems earlier in the day -- but Turner failed to get help. Several people we spoke with who know Turner call her a caring person who loves her family.

"She was a good mother to me. She seemed like a good mother. She took those kids, she bought things, they did things together," said Childress.

Monday morning Turner was arraigned in court she's being held at Riverside Regional Jail without bond. Turner's next court date is scheduled for June 21.

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