Illinois mother arrested in death of daughter, 11

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Monday, September 8, 2014
Mother arrested for homicide after death of girl, 11
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An 11-year-old girl is dead and her mother is now charged with her murder.

WAUKEGAN, IL -- An 11-year-old girl is dead and her mother is now charged with her murder. The girl was found dead on Friday in the 300 block of Gillette in north suburban Waukegan.

A memorial now sits on the steps where 11-year-old Raasania Coley stood months ago.

Neighbors say they rarely saw the little girl.

"She has two siblings that come outside and play, and they would have company come over the same age as the little girl that got killed, but she would never come outside and play with them, so I'm like, something's not right," said neighbor Simone Allen.

Allen says she knew something wasn't right when the girl never went to school or even came outside. She called police to do a well-being check back in June.

When she and other neighbors saw police tape and an ambulance outside the home late Friday night they knew the worst had happened.

"When I opened the door and asked the officers, he said she didn't make it. He said it was bad, she was being tortured," Allen said.

The Lake County States Attorney tells eyewitness news that 32-year-old Nicholette Lawrence, Coley's mothers, admits she punched her daughter so hard she became unresponsive.

An autopsy revealed the punch went thru her stomach and into her spine. When she was found, the child weighed only 50 pounds, and had old scarring and bruising on her body. Lawrence admitted to police she beat the child.

Waukegan Police say this case is extremely disturbing.

"I talked to a 22-year veteran of the police department and he indicated it was the most tragic thing he's ever seen," said Corey Kelly, Waukegan Police.

Lawrence is now in custody on a $5 million bond after being is charged with first degree murder and is being held in the Lake County Jail.

Neighbors worry about the other two children living in that home and what they have been exposed to.

"I feel very heartbroken," said neighbor Danielle Bentivegna. "We have known the neighbors since they've moved here. They have small children that play with our small daughter and it's just, anybody that loves children, this has to hurt them."

Police confirm Lawrence's two other children are unharmed and safely with relatives and there have been no reports of abuse to them.

The well-being call made is now under investigation. Lawrence is due back in court at the end of September.