BRADDOCK, Pa. – The toddler whose body was found a few blocks from her home the day after she went missing died of hypothermia, authorities said Monday.
But the death of 23-month-old Nyia Miangel Page was a homicide, the Allegheny County medical examiner said.
Dr. Karl E. Williams ruled the death a homicide because he "feels it is unlikely she got there under her own power." The little girl was barefoot and wearing only a sweater and diaper when she disappeared. The site where she was found was about a 10-minute walk from her home, a trek that would have included a trip up 17 snowy steps up to a wooded knoll.
Nyia, who was reported missing Saturday, was found at 3:13 p.m. the next day in an abandoned playground in Rankin, a Pittsburgh suburb.
Nyia's family members discovered she was missing when another child alerted them that Nyia was not in her bed around 7:30 a.m. Saturday. They searched for her in vain before calling police, according to authorities.
Police said Nyia's mother told them the girl was last seen after trying to crawl into bed with her parents about 12:30 a.m. Saturday. The mother told police she put the youngster back into her own bed in an upstairs room.
Police, emergency crews and bloodhounds searched in 20-degree temperatures throughout the day Saturday and resumed early Sunday.
Investigators gave polygraph exams to three men who were at the house Saturday — the girl's father, grandfather and a boyfriend of her grandmother.
Police charged the girl's father, William Lorenzo Page, with sexually abusing another child. They said information about the separate incident came to light during the investigation into the girl's disappearance.
Page, 22, was charged Sunday with simple and indecent assault of a child, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors in connection with an unrelated incident.