Because children are more likely to be mu*rdered, we feel a little more uneasy and sad than usual. Kids are innocent and should only get love and safety from their parents and other adults in their lives. Too often, the people who should be protecting children at all costs hurt, ab*use, or even torture them.

One of those kids was Zya Singleton. Four-year-old Zya was beautiful, smart, and talented. She died on November 3, 2019, after being ab*used horribly by her caretaker, Samilya Brown, for years.


Zya was found in her home in an ice bath with burns on her arms and legs, broken bones, open wounds, puncture wounds, bite marks, and stitches that she had made herself. The worst thing about Zya was that she didn’t have a nose.

On the evening of October 30, 2019, Brown called the police to her home in Philadelphia to say that her child had fallen out of a second-story window. Brown says Zya fell out the window while she was playing with the family cat. The police were right away doubtful of her story.

Zya was taken by life flight to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, but on November 3, she died from her injuries. Zya died of sepsis caused by an untreated head wound, but officials said she had burn scars with a pattern on them from bad care and stitches that were sewn on her face at home.

Janesmine Singleton, Zya’s mother, gave Brown custody of her daughter in 2016. When Singleton saw her daughter in the hospital, she told reporters, “I didn’t recognize her. She had no nose, all of this was gone.” The frame was all that you could see.

She said she didn’t know Brown was ab*using her daughter and would have done something if she had. “Right now. You would have never gotten my kid if I thought this girl was ab*using him. Because DCS told her to let Brown watch her daughter until she could move, she hadn’t seen her daughter in two years.

Brown was supposed to give Zya back to her mom when she was better. But that did not happen. When Singleton went to get Zya, Brown wouldn’t give her back. It’s not clear why Brown wouldn’t give Zya back to her mother.

“Brown abus*ed her, stitched her up, ab*used her again, stitched her up,” DA Lightsey said of the case. She hurt her badly with something hot and then fixed her up at home. He said it was “one of the worst cases of child ab*use” in the history of Philadelphia.

Brown worked as a home health aide, helping people who were sick. Because she knew a lot about medicine, she a*bused Zya and then fixed her wounds herself instead of taking her to a doctor, where professionals would have been able to spot the signs of ab*use. Brown tried to treat Zya’s injuries at home, and she got a badly broken lip.

Brown also said that she abu*sed Zya and left her hungry. She admitted to k*illing someone in the third degree, putting a child in danger, and having a tool used in a cr*ime. Because Brown was abu*sed as a child, her lawyers asked for a lighter sentence. The judge gave the maximum sentence of 30 to 60 years in prison, so the plea didn’t work.

“I hope she burn in this jail cell. That’s it,” Zya’s mother added.

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