Around 12 p.m. on Nov. 24, officers responded to a home after a concerned family member requested a welfare check, according to the Westminster Police Department.
Once at the residence, officers forced their way inside the home, where they found a 9-year-old girl dead with “obvious signs of trauma,” officials said.
Authorities said no one else was inside the home at the time and they believe it was an isolated incident.
Investigators determined the victim’s mother, 32-year-old Khadiyjah Pendergraph, allegedly killed her daughter.
She was booked into the Orange County Jail and charged with murder.
In a statement, Westminster Chief of Police Darin Lenyi said, "While police officers are exposed to tragedies on a daily basis, this murder is particularly disturbing due to the senseless loss of a child allegedly at the hands of her own mother."
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Evelyn Gonzalez, a neighbor, told KNBC, “It just can’t be, it’s like a nightmare. It’s a nice neighborhood. This is, you know, all the neighbors play together. I have four boys, and my boys are always playing with all the children around the block and I just cannot believe it.”
Officials have not released the girl’s name or cause of death at this time.
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