A Nigerian nanny faces up to 70 years in prison after she was convicted of second-degree murder for force-feeding an infant in her car.
On Monday, a Circuit Court judge in Prince George’s County found Oluremi Adeleye guilty of second-degree murder, first-degree child abuse resulting in death and second-degree child abuse for force-feeding Enita Salubi, who was 8 months old when she died, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy says in a press release obtained by PEOPLE.
“You left home with a live baby and come home with a dead baby,” her father, Influence Salubi, said in court about the day his daughter died, the Washington Post reports. “It’s not something I can forget.”
In November 2016, Adeleye was sleeping on the living room couch at Salubi’s home when Enita came up to her in her walker, crying and tugging at her dress, video from an in-home surveillance camera shows, according to local ABC affiliate WJLA.
“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,” Braveboy said, WJLA reports.
The video showed the nanny taking the nipple off the bottle and feeding the baby a gushing stream of milk, the Washington Post reports.
“She poured the milk down the baby’s throat,” Braveboy said, according to the Washington Post, which also reported Enita, who was unable to breathe, began squirming while the nanny force-fed her the milk.
After about 26 seconds, she lost consciousness, Braveboy said.
Twenty minutes later, Adeleye called the baby’s father, who called 911 as he raced home.
Enita was rushed to the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center where she was pronounced dead, CBS Baltimore reports, which also stated that an autopsy listed the cause of death as asphyxiation.
Adeleye testified that forcing babies to eat is common practice in Nigeria, where she is from, according to the Washington Post.
“I did what I needed to do to make sure the baby had food in the stomach,” she testified through an interpreter.
The mother of five and grandmother of 10 is scheduled to be sentenced on May 3.
“We have two loving, caring and supportive parents who did all the right things when looking for a caregiver for their children,” the district attorney says in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
“Our hearts and prayers continue to be with the family. I am just grateful that we were able to get some measure of justice for baby Enita and her family.”
The nanny’s lawyer, Douglas Wood, says he plans to appeal the conviction after she is sentenced.
“We’re certainly disappointed with the verdict,” he tells PEOPLE.
The prosecution’s claim that his client poured 7 ounces of formula down the baby’s throat is incorrect, he says.
“That’s not borne out by the video,” he says. “The baby’s onesies were damp with formula as well as my client’s smock so a lot of the formula didn’t get into the child.
“The medical examiner noted that there was only a small amount of white fluid in the lungs, but couldn’t quantify how much went into the lungs.”
The child also suffered from acute bronchopneumonia, he said.
“The medical examiner said that wasn’t the cause of death,” he says. “But that could have impacted the child’s ability to deal with the formula because she could have had trouble regurgitating.”
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