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					The Toronto Star
March 8, 2005

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Mother charged in daughter’s beating death
Girl, 3, suffered fatal beating Family members help in case: Police


BETSY POWELL
CRIME REPORTER
Police have charged the mother of three-year-old Emmily Lucas with second-degree murder, 15 months
after the little girl died from a beating.
Erika Mendieta, 28, of Toronto was arrested at 31 Division, in the city’s north end, on Saturday and is
being held in custody pending a court appearance next Monday, said homicide Det. Sgt. Cory Bockus.
Just last week, police posted a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the
girl’s killer. The money will not be paid out, but the publicity surrounding the reward played a role,
Bockus told reporters yesterday.
“There’s a very limited number of close family members that have provided information in the past
week that have helped us to solve this case,” she said, adding police don’t expect to charge anyone else.
On Nov. 13, 2003, paramedics were called to a townhouse on Flax Gardenway, near Steeles Ave. W.
and Jane St., to attend to the child, who wasn’t breathing. She was taken to the Hospital for Sick
Children and died 10 days later. After extensive and complicated tests, the Ontario coroner’s office ruled
last summer that her death was a homicide and she suffered severe head trauma associated with a
cardiac arrest.
“We believe that there was a beating of some sort that caused the trauma,” Bockus said.
Mendieta, a mother of five other children, is the second Toronto resident in a week to be charged in the
death of her daughter.
Last week, police arrested Xuan Peng, 33, and charged her with first-degree murder. Scarlett Chen, 4,
drowned July 12, 2004, in the family’s Scarborough home. Peng appeared in court yesterday.
Next week another Toronto woman, Clara Dasilva, goes on trial for manslaughter in the Sept. 9, 2002
death of her two-year-old daughter, Adrianna Dasilva. The little girl died of dehydration after allegedly
being left alone in a sweltering apartment.
Emmily Lucas had been returned to her mother, stepfather and five siblings a few months before her
death after being raised to that point by the sister of her birth father. Relatives are now caring for the
other children, Bockus said.
She declined to say why Emmily was removed from her mother after she was born. “That will be
discussed in court,” she said.
Bockus said it’s especially troubling that it took as long as it did for someone to step forward.
“It’s a very tragic case and it makes you want to have a successful conclusion even more,” she said.
“That no one will come forward in the death of a child is amazing to me. I think that every little child
deserves to have a voice, and the adults around them should speak up and help out.”


				
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