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Peanut-allergic girl allegedly killed (by her mom) with M&Ms

Posted by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 8:37 AM
  • 28 Replies

 

Mom accused of killing peanut-allergic daughter by feeding her M&Ms

By
Barry Leibowitz
Topics
Daily Blotter

 

Veronica Cirella and her daughter Julie

(Credit: CBS New York)

 

(CBS/AP) MINEOLA, N.Y. - M&M's that contained traces of peanuts are at the center of the case against a Long Island woman who now finds herself charged with second-degree murder in the death of her disabled and allergic 8-year-old daughter.

 

Veronica Cirella, 31, of Plainview, N.Y., pleaded not guilty Wednesday and was ordered held without bail in the July 23, 2011 death of her daughter, Julie, who was found hours before she was set to be a flower girl in a cousin's wedding.

 

District Attorney Kathleen Rice released a statement saying the grand jury heard from Cirella and several witnesses before returning the indictment on the second-degree murder charge.

 

"Every child's death arouses strong emotions, but prosecutors must evaluate the evidence objectively, and regardless of how difficult the defendant perceived her circumstances to be, taking her daughter's life was unjustified," Rice said.

 

Cirella had previously been charged with manslaughter in the case.

 

Attorney William Keahon implored the Nassau County judge to release his client on bail, contending an autopsy has failed to determine a cause of death. But the judge cited Cirella's suicide attempt the day her daughter died and the fact that Cirella is now facing a potential life sentence as reasons to hold her in custody until her trial.

 

"I've never seen an indictment for murder, intentional murder, where the medical examiner cannot even give a causation of death, nor can he even say it's a homicide. It's bizarre," Keahon told reporters outside the Mineola courthouse.

 

Assistant District Attorney Zeena Abdi said last summer that Julie, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant and was confined to a wheelchair, had suffered an allergic reaction to something she was fed.

 

"There was a certain protocol that should have been followed as far as giving care for the allergy that she did not take," the prosecutor said at the time.

 

After discovering Julie had died, Cirella told police that she attempted suicide by taking both injections of insulin and drinking the medication, as well as taking an unknown quantity of painkillers. She also told police she attempted to strangle herself with an electrical cord. Cirella and her daughter were found by Cirella's mother-in-law, Dolores Cirella, who also lived in the Plainview home, when she checked on their preparations for the wedding later that afternoon.

 

A suicide note written by Cirella, found in court documents, indicates that the mother admitted feeding M&Ms to her daughter the night before she died as a special treat for her participation in the wedding the following day.

 

She says in the suicide note that when she realized the child had eaten a product containing peanuts, which she read on the candy's label, she administered liquid Benadryl to counter the effects. She said the two eventually went to sleep and she found the child dead early the following morning.

by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 8:37 AM
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Replies (1-10):
TheJerseyGirl
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 9:42 AM
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 As a mom with a daughter with a peanut and tree nut allergy, I think it's CRUEL to charge this mom with anything else but a broken heart. No mother intentional gives their child candy hoping it will kill them.

Most candy will say *may contain traces of peanut* or *processed on equipment that also processes nuts*...or something like that. When the ingredient is clearly nuts then you obviously avoid it. But you have no idea how hard it is to find things that have no contact or traces with nuts.

Leave this mom alone and let her grieve! Sweet Jesus!

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juicebox.
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 9:46 AM
2 moms liked this
This exactly. I don't think she's guilty. Very sad.

Quoting TheJerseyGirl:

 As a mom with a daughter with a peanut and tree nut allergy, I think it's CRUEL to charge this mom with anything else but a broken heart. No mother intentional gives their child candy hoping it will kill them.


Most candy will say *mey contain traces of peanut* or *processed on equipment that also processes nuts*...or something like that. When the ingredient is clearly nuts then you obviously avoid it. But you have no idea how hard it is to find things that have no contact or traces with nuts.


Leave this mom alone and let her grieve! Sweet Jesus!

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CoeyG
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 2:51 PM

I think she is guilty of not paying attention to labels.   What is determined at time of trial will be up to the jury.

jakesmom323
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 5:41 PM
It's just as sad situation all around for everyone in that family. It sounds like an awful accident but I don't know the extremes of peanut allergies and protocol of what to do. I think there is more to the story for police to think she did this intentionally....????
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CoeyG
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 5:57 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting jakesmom323:

It's just as sad situation all around for everyone in that family. It sounds like an awful accident but I don't know the extremes of peanut allergies and protocol of what to do. I think there is more to the story for police to think she did this intentionally....????

Wether intetionally or not, she didn't use common sense obviously.  She didn't read the lable of the candy before purchasing it.  If I knew my child had an allergy I would read the labels on everything she ate.  Yes it is sad, that this mother is so undereducated that she wasn't aware that she needed to read labels.  

betsystipo
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 7:53 PM

I'm so confused by this - who wrote the suicide note? 

I saw this on FB the other day, and I do believe that the mother should have been more careful.  I mean really - it was M&Ms - not some strange food that she didn't "think" would have traces of peanuts!

maciymommieof3
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 7:58 PM

 I totally agree.....My gosh..can a story get sadder than this?

Quoting TheJerseyGirl:

 As a mom with a daughter with a peanut and tree nut allergy, I think it's CRUEL to charge this mom with anything else but a broken heart. No mother intentional gives their child candy hoping it will kill them.

Most candy will say *may contain traces of peanut* or *processed on equipment that also processes nuts*...or something like that. When the ingredient is clearly nuts then you obviously avoid it. But you have no idea how hard it is to find things that have no contact or traces with nuts.

Leave this mom alone and let her grieve! Sweet Jesus!

 

maciymommieof3
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 8:04 PM

 Call me stupid and uneducated! I am here to say that I am..I have no idea  that M&M's could have traces of peanuts...wth? My ds had a sleepover the other night and one of his friends has a "tree / nut" allergy...his parents told me not to feed him any kind of nuts...so, ok..I get that...but I did buy them M&M's and Gummy Bears and Mike and Ikes etc.......How would I have a clue to tie "peanut allergies" into plain M&M's?

Quoting betsystipo:

I'm so confused by this - who wrote the suicide note? 

I saw this on FB the other day, and I do believe that the mother should have been more careful.  I mean really - it was M&Ms - not some strange food that she didn't "think" would have traces of peanuts!

 

CoeyG
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 8:51 PM
2 moms liked this

Have you never heard of peanut M & Ms?  They are processed in the same plant as the plain ones and the peanut butter M & Ms So they could very well contain traices of peanut.  This is why it is so important to know what it is your kids are eating.  

Bookwormy
by on Apr. 6, 2012 at 11:37 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm not saying that the mom did the right thing.  But as a mother of a child with life threatening food allergies, I also know that accidents do happen.  Many people with food allergies, including my daughter, do not have a reaction to food processed on the same equipment as their allergen(s).  If I were worried, however, I would have given the benadryl & then I would have monitored her closely for at least 4 hours.  If she had any kind of anaphylaxic reaction, I would have used an epipen, called 911, used another epi-pen if necessary after 10 min, & taken her to the hospital by ambulance.  You can't simply administer benadryl & then go to sleep, IMHO.  Accidents are why the parents & caregivers of children with food allergies should always carry epi-pens & know how to use them.  My daughter was eating supposedly allergen free trail mix by Enjoy Life, a company that processes no common allergens, when she began to have anaphylaxis to sunflower seeds.  We didn't know that she was allergic to them, because it is so uncommon.  I saved her life by using her epi-pen, which she had prescribed for tree nuts & eggs.  We also gave her benadryl, but benadryl is not enough to treat anaphylaxis.

I can only assume that if they are charging this mom with murder, they must feel that she intentionally killed her daughter.  Otherwise it should be accidental manslaughter.  You need to have intent to murder, right?  So, they don't believe the mom killed her daughter accidently is my best guess.  There is more to this story than meets the eye.  Sadly, kids die too frequently from food allergies, & the parents, school personnel, etc, aren't usually charged with manslaughter, let alone murder.

Samantha

Hate Is NOT a Family Value.

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