AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - Bianca Cartagena was found dead in her home in Amherst almost a full year ago. Her mother, Candace Cartagena, was found barely coherent in a shed in the back yard. Bianca's father has long suspected foul play and Wednesday he's reacting to a new autopsy review that supports his suspicions.
"I've been saying all along that Candace is the killer , the murderer of my child," Bianca's father, Ruben Cartagena, Jr., said, "My theory is that Candace smothered her with a pillow or whatever, and killed my daughter," said Cartagena.
Relatives of Bianca have been searching for answers after the 8 year-old child lost her life in the home of her mother last November. They hired a pathologist who takes issue with the autopsy report from the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office.
Bianca was found lifeless inside her mother's Amherst home last November. Her cause of death was asphyxia, according to Erie County. However, they could not determine what caused her to become asphyxiated.
Recently, a review of the autopsy by Dr. Sikirica, an outside pathologist paid by some of Bianca's relatives, has determined that the child's death was a homicide.
Candace's Attorney, John Nuchereno, disagrees.
"It's not the least bit surprising. If I personally go out and pay a forensic pathologist to get the result that I want to hear, it wouldn't be unusual for me to get that result," Nuchereno said.
Candace had been found semiconscious in a shed in the backyard of her home, and had self-inflicted wounds according to Amherst Police, who are still investigating the case.
Candace's mother, Kathy Sweeney, believes her daughter has responsibility for what happened to Bianca. In March, 2011 she said, "You had a responsibility for that little girl, and now you have a responsibility for being accountable for what happened to her."
Sikirica's autopsy review has been given to Erie County, whose Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Diane Vertes has been in contact with Dr. Sikirica. Dr. Vertes "has received his formal report, and is in the process of reviewing his findings."
Candace is still grieving over the loss of her daughter, says her attorney, "Sunday she spent at the grave site of her daughter, unannounced, all by herself, with no intention of anyone ever finding that out," Nuchereno said.
Neither Ruben Cartagena, Jr. nor Dr. Sikirica have released what information led them to conclude that Bianca was the victim of a homicide. Dr. Sikirica has not returned phone calls from News 4.
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