Disturbing details are beginning to emerge following the arrest of a mother and father in connection with the death of their 6-year-old daughter and injuries to their 9-year-old son in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
Shana Pedroso, 37, and Marvin Brito, 38, were ordered held without bail following their arraignments in Fitchburg District Court on Wednesday. Both pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to return to court on April 18.
Pedroso is charged with two counts of reckless endangerment of a child and two counts of assault and battery on a child with injury. Brito is charged with two counts of permitting substantial injury to a child and two counts of reckless endangerment.
District Attorney Joseph Early said police responded to a 911 call at 139 Stoneybrook Road around 11:58 a.m. on Tuesday. When they arrived, they found an unresponsive 6-year-old girl and an injured 9-year-old boy.
Both children were brought to the UMass Memorial Health Alliance in nearby Leominster, where the girl was pronounced dead. The boy was transferred to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester with injuries that are not considered life-threatening.
According to court documents released Wednesday, responding officers observed that the boy had sustained serious injuries and bruising to his face. The girl had extensive bruising of various ages over her entire body.
Court documents show the injured boy told police he had sustained the injuries the day before when "he and his sister were attacked by bullies." He also said his sister "wouldn't drink" the next morning, but the parents said not to call 911. Pedroso allegedly glued a wound on the boy's neck closed with super glue. Investigators also found handwritten notes on Pedroso indicating "the children were bad and beaten" on Monday.
Early said state police detectives and Fitchburg police are investigating and are deeming the girl's death suspicious. The chief medical examiner has accepted jurisdiction and will determine the cause and manner of the girl's death.
"We are very early in this investigation," he said Tuesday afternoon. "The case is very active. A lot of moving parts are going on right now."
Fitchburg Police Chief Ernest Martineau said the crime was not a random act and the public is not in danger. Martineau also said the investigation is not connected in any way to a series of recent school threats in the city.
Neighbors on Stoneybrook Road said they first started hearing sirens around noon Tuesday.
"Around noon we first started hearing the cops and sirens coming around, the helicopters, and we're all just listening to the scanners and trying to figure out what's going on," neighbor Mike Naughton said. "There are a lot of theories going around."
Massachusetts State Police said assets including Air Wing, K9, Crime Scene Services, patrols and detectives assigned to the Worcester District Attorney responded to assist Fitchburg police at the crime scene.
Aerial footage showed numerous police and fire vehicles blanketing the neighborhood.
Police were seen checking IDs before letting drivers pass down Stoneybrook Road on Tuesday afternoon.
A white pickup truck was towed from the scene on Tuesday night.
A spokesman for the state Department of Children and Families said in a statement Tuesday night that the agency is assisting law enforcement in the investigation.