Babysitter ‘killed toddler by stomping on him three times to toughen him up’

A child care woman charged with killing a toddler in her home told police she threw the boy to the floor and stepped on him three times to ‘toughen him up’, and after that he could no longer walk on his own, authorities said.

cardell williamson

Athena Skeeter, 40, was arraigned Sunday on charges of manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child. The city’s Administration for Children’s Services did not immediately respond to a message seeking information on Skeeter, whom police said was a licensed child care worker. According to a court document, Skeeter told police she had been wrestling Friday with 20-month-old Cardell Williamson at her Bronx home after his father dropped him off that morning. She said the child was on the bed when she lifted him by one arm and one leg and put him on the floor.

She told police she stepped on his stomach but ‘didn’t use full force’. Skeeter said she then put her son on top of Cardell and stepped on his stomach. ‘Cardell acted different after that,’ Skeeter said, according to the court document. He threw up. His head kept tilting.’ She said she put him in a bathtub and put cold water on his face, and then stepped out for a short time. When she came back, Streeter told police, Cardell’s head was in the water and steam was coming up. He had burns on his face when police arrived.

Police responding to a 911 call found Cardell lying on a bed, struggling to breathe. They rushed him to Bronx Lebanon Hospital in their squad car but it was too late. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. The boy’s father Carlyle Williamson told NY1 that his toddler had come home with bruises and a split lip before, but ‘I expected that for a little boy 1 years old always climbing on stuff’.

It is obvious that this father was already aware of his son’s abuse in daycare. ‘Bruises and a split lip’ is not just normal wear and tear on a 1-yr-old, those are signs of a dangerous situation broiling.

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