Bronx day-care provider Athena Skeeter told police that 20-month-old Cardell Williamson, who died in her care on Friday, was injured while they were “wrestling,” and she frantically tried to save him. However, a 12-year-old neighbor tells the Daily News that he found Williamson dead in Skeeter’s living room while he helped her bring in her groceries. “I went over to him. He wasn’t moving,” Isliel Hayward-Barnes said. “He didn’t move his arms. He was cold and stiff. He had a scrape on his face. He was butt naked and he was wet. He had masking tape on his mouth. He had bruises on his head.”
Hayward-Barnes says Skeeter screamed at him and threatened to kill him if he ever told anyone what he saw. “I hit her with my shoulder and ran out and went to my mom. I told her what happened,” he said. His mother called 911 immediately.
Police wouldn’t confirm any of the new details, but the manager at a nearby grocery store said he saw Skeeter buying groceries on Friday afternoon with her young son. “She did not have a baby with her,” he said.
Skeeter has been charged with manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child, and Williamson’s death is being investigated by city and state child-service agencies. “This is a real tragedy, and as a parent, it’s very painful for me to think about the loss of this child and what the family is going through right now,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We’re going to do a very full investigation, and we’re going to look for anything we can learn with.”