The mother of a woman charged in the starvation death of a 3-year-old girl is speaking out several months after her daughter’s arrest.
Last September, 3-year-old Nathlayz Rivera was found unresponsive in the city’s West Oak Lane neighborhood. Authorities ruled her starvation death a homicide.
Police later took Rivera’s father, 30-year-old Carlos Rivera, into custody. Police say Rivera, 30, initially found his twin daughter, Nathlayz, unresponsive around midnight in the family's bug-infested home on the 7300 block of Sommers Road.
"Instead of going to police and the ambulance, he called the mother, who was over at a male friend's house," said Philadelphia Police Captain James Clark. "The mom and friend came to the house, took the baby, and transported her to the E.R. where she was pronounced. The medical examiner ruled this a homicide, manner of death, starvation."
(Pictured: Carlos Rivera, Carmen Ramirez)
Nathlayz only weighed 11 pounds at the time of her death, less than half the weight of the average 3-year-old.
The girl "had not seen a doctor in over a year, even with all the severe disabilities," said Clark.
Investigators say that the twin girl had a chronic disorder and was blind in one eye.
The mother, Carmen Ramirez, was later arrested. Ramirez, 27, and Rivera both face third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, criminal conspiracy and child endangerment charges, according to police.
The other Rivera children, ages 9, 8 and 7, along with Nathalyz's 3-year-old twin – were all placed with the Department of Human Services.
On Wednesday, NBC10 spoke with Carmen’s mother and Nathalyz’s grandmother Marisa Rivera. Rivera told NBC10 that her granddaughter was always skinny but that she never had a reason to be overly concerned.
“She was always skinny so we did approach the doctor and asked them,” Rivera said. “At one point I did go to St. Christopher and I asked the doctor the same thing, if they were concerned about her weight. They told us no, they weren’t concerned. If they weren’t concerned then why should we be?”
Marisa says the last time she saw her granddaughter alive was during a graduation party over the summer.
“The last time I saw her was on June 29,” Rivera said. “She was the same, thin like always. I don’t know who didn’t feed her but the only thing I can tell you is that Carmen wasn’t home the last two months. She was home with the dad.”
Marisa claims that during her granddaughter’s last months, her daughter prevented her from seeing her.
“I was always pushed aside because of the way I was,” Marisa said. “I didn’t like things that my kids did. They do things that I don’t agree with and because I don’t agree with them, they forbid me from seeing their kids.”
In spite of everything, Marisa says she doesn’t believe her daughter starved Nathalyz to death. She also expressed sorrow that she wasn’t there to help her other grandchildren.
“I’d go beyond anything and anybody to save my grandkids,” she said while in tears. “Now it’s too late. Now it’s too late to do something about it.”
A preliminary hearing for Rivera and Ramirez originally scheduled for Wednesday was cancelled and rescheduled for a later date.