McLEAN, Va. – A Virginia toddler was walking out of a shopping mall with relatives when her grandmother suddenly flung her over a railing, sending the girl on a fatal plunge to the pavement several stories below, police said Tuesday.
Carmela Dela Rosa, 50, of Fairfax was arrested and charged with murder, said prosecutor Ian Rodway. Authorities said interviews with witnesses and Dela Rosa led them to the conclusion that the girl's fall Monday night was no accident, but they couldn't yet explain why the grandmother threw her.
The 2½-year-old child, Angelyn Ogdoc, died in a hospital several hours later. She fell from a walkway linking the mall's third floor to the parking garage's sixth floor at Tysons Corner Center in Fairfax, just south of Washington, D.C.
Fairfax County police spokeswoman Tawny Wright said Dela Rosa was leaving the mall with the toddler and two other adult relatives when she abruptly picked the girl up and threw her over the railing.
Dela Rosa was being held without bond, and a preliminary hearing in the case was set for Jan. 4, Rodway said. Deputy Public Defender Dawn Butorac, who is representing Dela Rosa, declined to comment on the case.
No one answered at Dela Rosa's home in Fairfax on Tuesday morning, but neighbor Russell Jackson, 51, described them as "a happy family" and said Dela Rosa lived with her husband and a son and often cared for her granddaughter.
"She was a sweet, happy baby," said Jackson, who lives in the rowhouse next door.
Dela Rosa would sometimes leave the blinds in the front window open when she was caring for the girl during the day.
"You could see them in the window waving at you," he said, adding she would encourage the toddler to throw kisses to her neighbors.
Dela Rosa's daughter and granddaughter were frequently at the home, and the group were often seen going on outings as a family, as they did Monday.
A few miles away in Falls Church, no one came to the door at the two-story home where the girl lived.
Associated Press Writer Jessica Gresko in Washington contributed to this report.