Family questioned in Phila. girl's death

FELTONVILLE - October 21, 2009 It began in the 4700 block of C Street on Wednesday morning.

The family told police the girl, Charlenny Farreira, woke up and told her stepmom she felt sick, and that she hit her head the night before.

Then, at around 10:30 a.m., the mother said she found the girl unresponsive on the bathroom floor.

Medics rushed the girl to St. Christopher's Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

After an autopsy, police say the girl had been abused for years.

The medical examiner told police it was the worst case of abuse he'd ever seen.

The medical examiner found a 7 inch cut on her head that was filled with gauze and was covered up by a wig. Authorities say the girl also had a broken arm and pelvis.

Neighbor Shanel Ortiz said, "I can't even believe it. I can't believe that was even happening next door to me."

Homicide investigators spent the day searching the family home.

"She was shy. She was a really shy, quiet, little girl. Whenever I saw her it was brief like either coming in and out of the car. She was hardly ever outside," Ortiz said.

Police took in the girl's father, stepmother, and sibling for questioning.

"They were nice. They were sociable. Whenever we were around each other they would talk to us. We had cookouts together. I never thought she'd be going through that, never," Ortiz said.

A police source says the Department of Human Services had been to the Farreira home before in 2006 and 2007. Action News tried to learn more about those prior visits, but a DHS spokesperson told us, she couldn't comment citing confidentiality laws.

So far no one has been charged in the case. Investigators are still questioning the parents and siblings, but police say charges are expected to be filed soon.

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