Autopsy: Girl, 3, died of child abuse at NW Side home - FOX 32 News Chicago

Autopsy: Girl, 3, died of child abuse at NW Side home

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A 3-year-old girl found dead at her Northwest Side home Sunday night died of child abuse, and police are questioning a person of interest, authorities said Monday.

Police were called to the home about 8:30 p.m. in the 3300 block of North Natchez Avenue, police said.

Ashley Mendoza, 3, was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:48 p.m., a spokesman for the medical examiner’s office said.

An autopsy performed Monday found Mendoza died of multiple injuries from child abuse, and ruled her death a homicide, the medical examiner’s office said.

It was not immediately known why police were called to the home, Chicago Police Officer Amina Greer said. 

The family of the toddler had lived in their Northwest Side apartment about three years, said their upstairs neighbor Anita Padilla, a stay-at-home mother of three.

Padilla said police told her the dead child’s mother had reported a break-in Sunday. Padilla said her neighbors could be worryingly loud at times. Sometimes, their arguments were noisy enough to shake Padilla’s walls, the neighbor told the Sun-Times.

“There was a lot of yelling, but it was mostly between the husband and wife,” Padilla said.

The arguments were in Spanish, a language Padilla says she doesn’t speak. Padilla said the arguments never resulted in a police visit.

On Sunday, the neighbors were unusually quiet, Padilla said.

“I didn’t even know they were at home,” Padilla said.

Padilla said the father of the toddler appeared to be a devoted dad.

“When he would leave every day (for work), she would stand by the window, and he would stand by the car blowing kisses and giving air hugs,” Padilla said.

Neighbors in the area told FOX 32's Darlene Hill the incident has them considering moving out of the neighborhood.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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