Police say mother admits to suffocating 2-year-old

Kamilah Russell was pronounced dead at the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

March 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A father is devastated and a young mother accused of a horrifying crime is under arrest for killing her own child.

Police say 2-year-old Kamilah Russell was suffocated by her own mom.

"Her own momma... Just to know that her own momma took her life... It ain't killing me. It's making me die deep inside, man," said Kamilah's father Joseph Russell.

It is a crime no one can understand, let alone Russell.

Police say his girlfriend, Tiffany Lopez, admitted to suffocating their oldest daughter 2-year-old Kamilah. They also have a 6-month-old daughter Tania and 19-year-old Lopez was three months pregnant with their third child.

The young mother admitted to police being frustrated by the overwhelming situation.

"She made it seem like she was too stressed out to be a mom. But, it wasn't nothing like I should be alert about it, because she handled her business as a mom," Russell told ABC7.

Russell left the family's Oakland apartment Tuesday evening. 45 minutes later, he got a call from Lopez saying Kamilah had stopped breathing. Lopez told her boyfriend's family she had been playing hide-and-seek with Kamilah when she accidently sat on her and suffocated her.

The story did not add up.

"She's telling me what happened. She's like we was playing hide-and-seek and what not, and the music was loud, something like that. And, she goes and hides under the couch and I sat on her. And, I didn't hear her or something like that. I'm like if you didn't hear her why didn't you feel her," recalled Kamilah's uncle Erik Russell.

Those with Lopez at the hospital where Kamilah was pronounced dead say Lopez seemed too calm for a mother whose baby just died.

"Her demeanor was like, she was just calm," Erik told ABC7. "She wasn't hysterical."

Eventually, Lopez admitted to police what really happened.

"After that conversation, she was placed under arrest for homicide," said Officer Jeff Thomason.

Now, all Joseph can do is wonder "why."

"That lady, she took what's more precious to me than anything in this world," he said. "She took my daughter from me and the only thing I can do is lay my baby to rest."

According the Mercury News, Lopez's mom, Linda, had been telling child protective officials and police for months that Lopez suffered from a chemical imbalance and needed help. She said no one would listen.

Lopez has been in trouble with the law for child abuse before. San Mateo police told ABC7 she was arrested on Christmas Eve and booked on felony charges of willfully abusing a child and resisting arrest. They say she abused her daughter and middle school-aged brother.


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