Chicago mother charged with murder after asphyxiation of 8-year-old daughter in Uptown: Police

Believing her 8-year-old daughter no longer loved her, a Chicago woman calmed her down after praying before bed in the Uptown neighborhood earlier this week, prosecutors said during the woman’s hearing on Friday.

Andreal R. Hagler, 38, was charged with first degree murder and was denied bail before Cook County Judge Maryam Ahmad during a hearing broadcast live on YouTube.

Assistant attorney James Murphy said the victim’s uncle, who sometimes stayed with them, came to their apartment on the 4600 block of North Winthrop Avenue Wednesday morning to check on Hagler after calling several times and getting no answer.

After finding them in a bed, unresponsive, he called his sister, who immediately called 911.

Hagler was lying face down with a clear plastic bag over her head and “moved a little” when police and paramedics arrived.

“Two little legs” of the shin peeked out of a duvet and they found Amari, deceased, Murphy said. Amaria was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:23 am, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Murphy said in court that the coroner’s office labeled Amaria’s death a manslaughter after determining she died of multiple injuries, including those related to suffocation, from an assault.

Hagler, who appeared to be uninjured but was later found to have PCP in her system, gripped the mattress and wouldn’t let go, Murphy said.

First responders handcuffed her and lifted her to a chair, then she was wheeled to an ambulance, Murphy said, adding that Hagler never said a word. Hagler had been taken to nearby Weiss Memorial Hospital, where she was reported to be in good condition.

A red Solo cup, which smelled of bleach, was found in the apartment.

After her arrest moments after Amari was found, Hagler made a statement to police saying that she and Amari said their bedtime prayers around 8 or 9 p.m. that night. She told police she drank bleach and took PCP, and believed her daughter didn’t love her anymore and loved her father more, Murphy said.

While Amari yelled “Mommy stop!” Hagler started choking her by putting a plastic bag over her head and telling her it was “their time to go,” because they were both born on the 24th, Murphy said.

A lawyer representing Hagler claimed there were no witnesses and said Hagler posed no flight risk. She has completed a number of HBO courses and works as an occupational therapist. Hagler, who was unable to pay bail, is suffering from depression, according to the lawyer.

Hagler had scheduled a meeting with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on Tuesday, according to a Chicago police report.

The principal of a nearby Uptown elementary school sent a letter home Wednesday informing students, parents and guardians that a child enrolled at the school had died. The letter did not specify the age or gender of the student, and it was not immediately clear whether Amaria attended the school.

“This loss will certainly raise a lot of emotions, concerns and questions for the whole school, especially our students. The Chicago Public Schools Crisis Management Unit will work with our in-house counselor, social worker, and psychologist to provide grief counseling and support for students and staff. If your child has any concerns, please contact us so we can provide additional support,” the letter reads.

Hagler is due to appear in court again on June 15.

rsobol@chicagotribune.com

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