PITTSBURGH – The father of a young girl who died of exposure had knocked her unconscious because he was angry she wouldn't go to bed, then took her outside in freezing temperatures and left her there, police said before the man's arraignment Thursday.
Nyia Miangel Page, who was about to turn 2, was found dead Sunday on a wooded knoll about a 10 minute walk from the family's home. Tiny footprints in the snow suggested she had gotten up and wandered around before she died, police said.
Page told police he woke up early Saturday and found the girl awake and playing near a mirror in the hallway, according to the criminal complaint. He said he got mad when the girl wouldn't go back to bed so he hit her so hard she hit her head and was unconscious, the complaint said.
Page then took her outside wrapped in a blanket and left her, police said.
An autopsy determined Nyia died of hypothermia, but the Allegheny County Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide because investigators said it was unreasonable to assume the child got to the wooded location alone.
Her small body was found about a 10-minute walk from her home, a trek that would have included climbing 17 snowy steps up to a wooded knoll.
A witness had seen Page enter his house Saturday morning from the direction where his daughter was found, police said. He was back out on the street about an hour later, saying he was looking for the girl and telling the witness, "Somebody took my daughter," according to a criminal complaint.
Nyia's mother told police she last saw the girl after Nyia tried 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 for most of two days before finding the little girl's body.
Page, who did not have an attorney in court Thursday morning, was jailed without bond.