GLENARDEN, Md. — A Maryland live-in nanny has been convicted of murder for pouring milk down the throat of an 8-month-old girl in her care after the child’s crying woke her from a nap.
Oluremi Oyindasola, 73, was found guilty Monday of second-degree murder, first-degree child abuse resulting in death and second-degree child abuse, according to ABC7 in Washington, D.C. She faces up to 70 years in prison at her May 3 sentencing, the news station said.
Oyindasola, a native of Nigeria, was hired to care for a Glenarden family’s three children, including the infant victim, Enita Salubi. An in-home surveillance system captured what happened Oct. 24, 2016, the day the girl was killed.
The footage, which ABC7 reported was played in court, showed Enita bouncing in her infant walker. As Oyindasola lay on the couch, napping, the little girl tugged on the nanny's dress and patted her leg, crying.
Enita’s crying and tugging eventually woke Oyindasola.
"The nanny was sleeping on the couch and the baby was pulling at her, and so I think she was irritated with the baby and wanted the baby to stop," Prince George's County State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy said in court, according to the news station.
The video showed Oyindasola giving Enita a bottle but getting frustrated, unscrewing the top of the bottle and pouring the liquid down the baby’s throat, ABC7 said.
As Enita squirmed in her arms, Oyindasola forced about 8 ounces of milk down Enita's throat in under 30 seconds, the video showed. According to The Washington Post, which identified the defendant by her maiden name, Oluremi Adeleye, Enita continued struggling, then fell to the ground.
Oyindasola picked the baby up and tried to give her more milk from a second bottle, the video showed. Enita eventually went limp.
The Post reported that Oyindasola rocked the child for several minutes, wiping the girl's face and trying to revive her. She waited about 20 minutes to call the baby's father to tell him something was wrong, the newspaper said.
Influence Salubi testified that he was at work when he received the call. ABC7 reported that he called 911 on his way home.
When he arrived, he found his daughter lifeless, her feet cold, the Post reported. Milk streamed from her mouth and nose.
"What did you do? What happened" Salubi testified he screamed at Oyindasola. He began trying to suck the milk from Enita's mouth and nose.
"You left home with a live baby and come home with a dead baby," Salubi said in court, according to the Post. "It's not something I can forget."
Enita's autopsy showed that she died of asphyxiation, ABC7 reported.
"Any caregiver should've known this would have caused serious bodily harm, or in this case, death," Braveboy said, according to the news station. "This family, I can tell you, the mother and father did everything right. They interviewed nannies, they got referrals and the defendant came highly recommended from friends who they knew."
Oyindasola's defense argued that there was no malice in her actions and that, in her native Nigeria, it is customary to force children to eat, the Post reported. Her attorney called to the stand several of her relatives, who described what Oyindasola did as "cup feeding," in which a person puts a hand to a child's mouth and pours milk into the hand to give bit by bit when the child refuses to eat, but needs to be fed.
"All she wanted to do was feed the child," defense attorney Douglas Wood argued, according to the newspaper. "She wanted to make sure the baby was healthy and the baby was well fed."
“I did what I needed to do to make sure the baby had food in the stomach,” Oyindasola testified via an interpreter.
Prince George's County Circuit Court Judge Karen Mason, who heard Oyindasola's case, disagreed. The Post reported that Mason pointed out that Oyindasola initially lied to detectives about how she fed Enita and did not admit to unscrewing the cap of the bottle until the investigators told her there was video of the baby's death.
Mason ruled that Oyindasola's lies showed a "consciousness of guilt," the Post said. She also described the nanny's actions as "cruel and inhumane."
The newspaper reported that the judge also negated defense assertions that most of the milk ran down Oyindasola's dress and Enita's clothing, pointing to emergency responders' testimony that milk came out of the infant's nose and mouth with each of the 20 chest compressions they performed as they tried to save her life.
Enita’s mother, Nikia Porter, testified that her family missed their “beauty,” who she said was always smiling and laughing. That was also the way people who knew the infant described her in the days after her death.
"I was heartbroken when I found out the baby's dead, because we knew her," family friend Kurt Wanzer told ABC7 in 2016. "That was my little sweetie. She was a little fat, cute, happy. You speak to her, smile, she'd laugh."
During the trial, Enita’s grieving mother lit a candle for her daughter, who would have turned 3 over the weekend.
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