AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - An autopsy reveals that 8-year-old Bianca Cartagena died from asphyxia while staying with her mother in Amherst last fall. Was it an accident, or a homicide?
Bianca's father, Ruben Cartagena, Jr. said, "She was great, my little princess."
Ruben says his little princess was taken from him and the family who loved her. 8-year-old Bianca Cartagena's body was found inside her mother's Amherst home back on November 30th. The cause of death has been determined to be asphyxia. Bianca's mother, Candace, was found unresponsive in a shed in the backyard.
"I thought she should have been charged from day one. There's a mother and a daughter in the house and one of them is dead. It's not by accident," said Ruben.
But Amherst Police have yet to charge anyone with the child's death. The manner of death, according to the Medical Examiner's report, is "undetermined."
Bianca's grandmother, Kathy Sweeney, said, "She was with her, she's the last person who was with her. She needs to come forward and she needs to be responsible."
Bianca had been living with her grandmother at the time. Sweeney says the night of her granddaughter's death, she repeatedly tried to get in contact with her daughter, Candace. She says Candace last texted at 5:50 on Tuesday saying she and Bianca were on their way home.
Sweeney said, "After that there was no communication no matter if I texted or called."
Bianca's aunt and grandfather discovered the little girl.
Bianca's aunt, Casie Croff, said, "She had been completely covered with blankets over her head."
In a letter to her mother a week after Bianca's death, Candace writes, "I have no recollection of Bianca even being at the house with me from that point on. All I know is that I wanted to die and kept taking pills each time I would wake up."
"I want somebody held accountable for this little girl's death," said Sweeney.
According to the District Attorney's office, it's still under investigation.
Erie County DA Frank Sedita said, "You can't go into court as a homicide prosecutor and accuse somebody of a homicide unless you can prove with proof that it is a homicide."
Amherst Police say they're meeting with the Medical Examiner's office to clarify some findings in the autopsy report, one of which states that the 8-year-old had the drug GHB in her system, but it doesn't state how much.
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