Toddler spends 30 hours in closet with father's body
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- A 3-year-old girl has returned back home to her mother in South Florida after a horrifying experience while visiting her dad in Pennsylvania.
Three-year-old Aryanna Stanley was visiting her dad in Pennsylvania when she found her 34-year-old father shot to death on the stairwell of his West Philadelphia apartment last Wednesday.
Police said he had been shot 19 times as he was taking his daughter's luggage downstairs for her trip back home to her mother in South Florida. "It broke my heart because my baby saw him lying there. My baby tried to wake him up and was telling me he wasn't sleeping, he was dead. He died," said the girl's mother Anna Cassieri.
After attempting to wake him, the toddler hid in a closet for 30 hours alone with the bloody, bullet-ridden body of her father. The child was taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday as her mother flew in from Florida.
However, Cassieri was not allowed custody of her daughter because of DHS' safety protocols regarding children in their care.
Cassieri was devastated. She said she was only given a mere 10 minutes with her daughter that same night and another two hours the following day. "When it was time to leave, she was yelling, 'I love you. Why won't you take me with you?'" said Cassieri.
A judge finally ordered DHS to release the 3-year-old to her mother. Cassieri is just thankful to have her baby girl back again but questions DHS' compassion towards her daughter during this stressful and heartbreaking situation. "She's seen so much, and I'm telling them, ' Ya'll don't have a heart. Like how can you not have a heart?'" said Cassieri.
Homeland Security officials issued a statement saying they support the judge's decision, and employees take all facts into consideration when it comes to the safety of children in their custody.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)