SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 32-year-old mother has been charged with murder for drowning her 9-year-old daughter, who was confined to a wheelchair and could not speak, in a bathtub, leaving the girl’s body there for several days while she claims she attempted to commit suicide on more than one occasion.
Khadiyjah Aliyyah Pendergraph, 32, of Westminster, was arrested by police in a grocery store parking lot in Aliso Viejo on Friday, the same day her daughter’s body was discovered decomposing in the bathtub of a Westminster apartment they shared.
The girl’s father had called police Friday to report his daughter, 9-year-old Victoria, was missing and to request a welfare check on the little girl and her mother after receiving concerning messages from his ex-wife regarding their daughter. When he attempted to pick their daughter up as scheduled on Thanksgiving, the apartment door was locked and no one answered the door.
Pendergraph has been charged with one felony count of murder. She faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life if convicted.
“While families across America sat down to Thanksgiving dinner with their loved ones, this little disabled girl’s lifeless body was left to rot in a bathtub after being drowned by her own mother,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Words simply do not exist to express the utter heartbreak knowing this little girl could not even scream for help as her mother pushed her underwater and cut her life so tragically and so unnecessarily short.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Dave Porter of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.