Indonesian maid to be charged over child's death

Maryani being taken by police to her employer's flat in Simei yesterday. She was out when the toddler was found unconscious on Sunday morning. Police arrested her in the Marina Bay area later that day. Richelle had bruises on her neck and head, and h
Maryani being taken by police to her employer's flat in Simei yesterday. She was out when the toddler was found unconscious on Sunday morning. Police arrested her in the Marina Bay area later that day.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
Maryani being taken by police to her employer's flat in Simei yesterday. She was out when the toddler was found unconscious on Sunday morning. Police arrested her in the Marina Bay area later that day. Richelle had bruises on her neck and head, and h
Richelle had bruises on her neck and head, and her lips had turned purple when she was found by her father at home on Sunday.

Toddler's father found her unconscious at home on Sunday; maid arrested later that day

An Indonesian maid will be charged today over the death of a toddler in her care.

Maryani Usman Utar, 30, was arrested after one-year-old Richelle Teo Yan Jia was found unconscious by her father at home on Sunday morning with bruises on her neck and head.

The girl's lips had turned purple, and she was pronounced dead in hospital.

The police, who received a call for assistance at 9.20am, said Maryani will be charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

She was not home when the baby was found unconscious as it was her day off, reported Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao.

Police arrested her in the Marina Bay area later that day.

Yesterday afternoon, police officers took her to the Housing Board flat where she worked in Simei Street 4 , her wrists and ankles in restraints.

According to the family, Richelle's father was praying in the bedroom while she slept on the morning of Mother's Day.

Her mother and older brother were out at the time.

After he finished his prayers, Richelle's father tried to wake her but found that she was unconscious.

Worried, he took the toddler to Changi General Hospital.

But she could not be saved and was pronounced dead at 10.08am.

Richelle's grandfather, Mr Teo Xiong Kun, 81, told Lianhe Wanbao that his family had repeatedly tried to call the maid after the incident, but she could not be reached. She had been out since around 8am.

The police eventually found her.

She is believed to have worked for the family for more than a year. It was her first job in Singapore.

Around 10 members of Richelle's family were at the mortuary yesterday to identify her body, reported evening daily Shin Min Daily News. They included her parents, elder brother, aunt and grandparents. They took with them some clothes, pink shoes and a toy.

Her aunt told the Chinese newspaper that Richelle's brother had yet to understand that his sister had died.

She also said that relatives often visited Richelle's family in Simei during weekends.

Richelle celebrated her first birthday about six days ago, said Mr Teo.

Last December, an Indonesian maid was sentenced to 10 years' jail for killing her employer's 76- year-old mother-in-law by smothering the woman with a pillow while she was sleeping.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2016, with the headline 'Indonesian maid to be charged over child's death'. Print Edition | Subscribe