Ciara Michelle Robinson is behind bars for murdering her 5-year-old daughter, Amatulah McLaughlin, also known as “Amy,” on Halloween night at their home in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
At around 9:25 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2018, emergency first responders were dispatched to an apartment home in the 400 block of Walnut Street in Parkesburg, following a 911 call about an unresponsive child, according to Fox 32 Chicago.
When paramedics arrived on the scene, they found Amatulah dead in her bed.
Police officials stated that she was cold to the touch, and she didn’t have a pulse, which indicated that she may have been dead for a while before Robinson called the police.
Amatulah’s body was transported to the state’s medical examiner’s office for an autopsy, which showed she died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Prosecutors said her head injury resulted in a brain bleed and extreme intracranial pressure. The autopsy also showed that Amatulah sustained extensive bruising and scarring throughout her body, indicative of chronic abuse.
Nearly a year before her death, it was reported that child welfare officials received an anonymous tip about Robinson abusing her daughter, but it is unknown if the police followed up on that tip.
On Nov. 1, 2018, Ciara Michelle Robinson was arrested and booked into the county jail, where she was held without bond. She was charged with third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and a slew of other charges, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.
“I wish I never pushed her down the (expletive) steps,” Robinson said while sitting in a holding cell. “I shouldn’t have pushed her.”
Robinson admitted to the police that she had been physically abusing her daughter for at least a year before her death.
On the night Amatulah was killed, police learned that when Robinson became angry with her daughter, she beat, punched, and slapped her while threatening to put her in the basement with the “Boogey Man.”
Afterward, Robinson said she pushed her down the steep basement stairs, which caused Amatulah to hit her head on the concrete floor.
Chester District Attorney Tom Hogan told 6 ABC Action News that “on a night when you got so many kids who are having so much fun with their parents, being taken around going door to door and having fun, this little girl’s life ended. She will never have a chance to go trick-or-treating again.”
During a formal police interview, Robinson recanted some of her statements. She admitted to beating, punching, and slapping her daughter, but she said she didn’t push her down the stairs.
Robinson, a home health aide worker, said Amatulah fell down the carpet-covered wooden stairs and hit her head on the concrete floor when she landed.
She added that she picked up her daughter and carried her up the stairs, but said that Amatulah was able to walk to her bedroom, about 100 feet away, and she “got her bed and went to sleep.
Robinson told authorities she would “periodically check on her” throughout the night. When she found her unresponsive, she poured cold water on her to wake her up.
When that didn’t work, Robinson said she called 911.
One of Robinson’s friends told investigators that she received a phone call from her around 8:45 a.m. that morning. Robinson told her that she had “knocked Amy out. She won’t wake up. I’m going to jail.”
Hogan said, “This little girl was severely abused, culminating in her death. No child should have to live like this. Our hearts are broken by the death of an innocent child.”
Robinson has another child, a 2-year-old son, who was also present at the time of the killing, but he wasn’t injured, according to police. He was placed in protective custody with a child care agency.
On Oct. 18, 2019, Robinson took a plea deal. She pleaded guilty to the third-degree murder of her daughter, and a judge sentenced her to 18 to 36 years in prison.