CHICAGO (WGN) — A Chicago woman on trial for allegedly murdering a 4-month-old under her care told the child’s parents to “trust the word of God,” prosecutors said in court Monday.
Norma Chagnama, 29, who was arrested Saturday at her home, appeared in bond court Monday. She is charged with one felony count of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors said Chagnama forcefully picked up the girl by the legs and threw her over her shoulder, noticing the girl vomited but not supporting her head as she then “threw” her on the bed.
The 4-month-old, who Chagnama had been caring for since late 2022, then started having trouble breathing, according to prosecutors.
Chagnama then called the infant’s mother, who rushed over to find the baby girl “limp” in Chagnama’s arms, prosecutors said.
The mother allegedly attempted CPR on her daughter, who was rushed to Swedish Covenant Hospital in critical condition and later transported to Lutheran General in Park Ridge, according to police. At Lutheran General, staff told authorities that a CT scan showed a subdural hematoma and spinal cord injuries.
Doctors determined that her injuries came from abuse and she was taken off life support early Friday morning. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the girl’s death a homicide due to child abuse.
The child’s father contacted Chagnama and her husband and told them that the 4-month-old had died, prosecutors said. Chagnama and her husband then went to the couple’s apartment and told them they need to “trust the word of God,” prosecutors allege. Chagnama then allegedly told the family she was sorry and gave them $2,000 to help with funeral expenses.
“We have a young woman who has never caused harm to any person, who sees this child is vomiting and immediately reacts,” her defense attorney countered. He went on to say that the injuries may have been caused by the mother administering CPR.
Chagnama, who authorities say was also caring for another child, is also accused of failing to file a license to run a day care.
While weighing whether to grant Chagnama bond or not, the judge noted the exchange of $2,000.
“Could be an act of kindness,” she said. “Could be something else of a more nefarious nature.”
Chagnama was denied bail and her next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 27.
On Sunday, Nexstar’s WGN reported that DCFS has prior contact with the family of the girl. In the bond hearing, DCFS had custody of the child for a few days after the parents left the girl inside a vehicle on the city’s North Side. They were charged with misdemeanor child endangerment.