Murder charges filed in death of toddler


District Attorney Larry Krasner announced charges against two individuals in the fatal beating of a 2-year-old girl that occurred in Tacony. Investigators believe the child had been physically abused for several months.

Officers in the 15th Police District responded to a radio call on March 11, about an unresponsive female toddler on the 6300 block of Marsden St. The child, identified by police as Yatzirys Rodriguez, of the 3300 block of Hartville St., was transported to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in critical condition. She later succumbed to her injuries as a result of blunt force trauma.

Yaritza Cirilo-Fuentes, 32, the child’s primary caretaker and godmother, is being charged with murder. Helen Smith, 42, a babysitter, is also facing a murder charge.

“Thanks to a number of witnesses who came forward with information that helped the Philadelphia Police Department apprehend those we believe responsible, we can now pursue justice in this horrific case of apparent long-term abuse involving this innocent 2-year-old girl,” Krasner said. “This pandemic has made it terribly difficult to spot signs of abuse because of the absence of contact between children and mandated reporters such as teachers and other service providers. That’s why it’s critically important that witnesses contact authorities if they suspect that child abuse is occurring.” ••