Body of 9-year-old found above New York restaurant after staff complained about odd smell

Restraunt staff noticed stench coming from the building before mother called the police

Shweta Sharma
Tuesday 17 May 2022 11:21
<p>The fourth floor apartment of Shalom Guifarro, 9, who was found dead with blunt trauma force </p>

The fourth floor apartment of Shalom Guifarro, 9, who was found dead with blunt trauma force

The mother of a nine-year-old girl, discovered dead in her home above a New York restaurant with suspected bite marks on her back and cuts and bruises to her head, has been arrested, police said.

The girl, identified by the police as Shalom Guifarro, was found dead in her apartment on Lincoln Place in the Crown Heights neighbourhood on Sunday afternoon after neighbours noticed a stench coming from the apartment.

The grisly murder of the girl has shocked the neighbourhood and police officials who responded to the crime scenes appeared to tear up, according to reports.

Shemene Cato, 48, was arrested on Monday afternoon after she was taken for questioning following the discovery of the body.

The mother faces charges of murder, manslaughter, assault, endangering the welfare of a child and weapon possession in the death of her daughter.

The New York Police Department said the girl suffered multiple blunt force trauma and ruled the death a homicide on Monday.

The police responded to the scene after Ms Cato had called 911 to report that her daughter was in distress but upon reaching the home they pronounced Shalom dead.

Bart Hubbuch, who owns the restaurant Memphis Seoul on the ground floor of the building in which Ms Cato lives, said the staff complained about a stench when they arrived in the morning but assumed it was from a toilet upstairs.

He said hours after a number of emergency personnel arrived and said some were ashen-faced and appeared to be wiping away tears as they emerged from the building, according to New York Times.

“They said it was a horrific crime scene,” Mr Hubbuch said, describing the two daughters of Ms Cato as very polite and well mannered.

Other neighbours and Mr Hubbuch described the mother as overprotective who seemed troubled and was often seen yelling at her daughters.

“She was always screaming at her kids so loud it would startle you,” Mr Hubbuch said. He added that he never saw her being physically abusive to her daughters but: “It was like, Why are you screaming at your kids like that?”

The police are yet to release a statement in the case. It is not known how the suspected bite marks or injuries occurred to the girl.

The administration for Children’s Protective Services said it is also investigating the case with NYPD and they have taken action to secure the safety of the other child in this home.

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