Antelope Valley Press

Mother charged with drowning daughter in bathtub


FOUNTAIN VALLEY (AP) — A Westminste­r woman was charged Tuesday with drowning her 9-year-old daughter in a bathtub where her decomposin­g body was found days later, prosecutor­s said.

Khadiyjah Pendergrap­h, 32, was arrested last Friday in a grocery store parking lot in Aliso Viejo — about 20 miles away — on the same day that the girl’s body was found in their shared apartment, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The girl, identified by the office only as Victoria, had cerebral palsy and couldn’t speak, prosecutor­s said.

“Words simply do not exist to express the utter heartbreak knowing this little girl could not even scream for help as her mother pushed her underwater and cut her life so tragically and so unnecessar­ily short,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the statement.

Pendergrap­h was charged with a count of murder and could face a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted. She made her first court appearance Tuesday but did not enter a plea, although her defense was assigned to the public defender’s office, the district attorney’s office said. She remained jailed without bail.

Authoritie­s didn’t mention a possible motive for the alleged killing.

The girl’s father was divorced from Pendergrap­h. He had been scheduled to pick up his daughter on Thanksgivi­ng, but when he went to his ex-wife’s apartment, he found the door locked and nobody answered, authoritie­s said.

On Friday, he called police to report that his daughter was missing and that he had received “concerning messages” from Pendergrap­h, according to the statement from the district attorney’s office. It didn’t provide details about the messages.

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