Nanny Convicted of Murder After She Force-Fed an Infant to Death

Enita Salubi
11 Alive

A former nanny was charged after the healthy 8-month-old she was watching allegedly died from being force-fed 8 ounces of milk in less than 30 seconds. Oluremi Adeleye was convicted Monday after a judge found her guilty of child abuse and second-degree murder, but the defense for Adeleye argued that the way she fed the child was cultural -- not criminal -- and claimed that the whole thing was a "tragic accident."

  • The incident happened on October 24, 2016, after a nanny camera captured Adeleye forcing milk down the girl's throat.

    Adeleye had been the live-in nanny for Influence Salubi and Nikia Porter and their three children before the incident, reported Fox 10. But things took a turn for the worst in late October 2016 at their home in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

    According to the Washington Post, footage of Adeleye taken by the nanny cam revealed the now 73-year-old taking care of 8-month old Enita Salubi. The little girl can be seen bouncing in her baby walker, pulling on her nanny's dress, and patting her leg as she was lying on the couch. After a few minutes, the caretaker got up and got Enita her bottle. However, she removed the nipple and the lid and appeared to pour a full 8-ounce bottle of milk down the baby's throat. The entire bottle was drained in less than 30 seconds, and although the infant continued to wriggle in her nanny's arms for a few moments, she soon fell to the ground. 

    Adeleye then picked up Enita and attempted to give her a liquid from a second bottle before the little girl eventually went limp. Adeleye started to rock the little girl, in an apparent attempt to rouse her, and can be seen wiping her face as the baby's head flops back and forth. 

    Alive 11 reported that Adeleye waited 20 minutes before calling the girl's father for help. The Washington Post continued that after the father rushed home, he found his daughter lifeless. Her feet were cold, her arms were limp, and she had milk running down her nose and out her mouth.

    "What did you do?! What happened?!” he recalled yelling at Adeleye as he tried to suck the liquid out of his child's face. 

    Fox 10 reported that Enita was then rushed to University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center, where she was pronounced dead.

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  • But in court on Monday, Adeleye's lawyer fought to convince the judge that the death was a grave accident caused by a cultural behavior.

    The Washington Post reported that Adeleye's lawyer, Douglas Wood, argued Monday that the woman had never meant to hurt the child and was only trying to make sure the baby didn't go hungry. Adeleye and her lawyers claimed that the nanny was partaking in a custom called "cup feeding,” a practice in Nigeria (where Adeleye is from) that involves placing one's hands to a child's mouth and pouring liquid into their mouth when they aren't hungry but need a feeding. 

    “I did what I needed to do to make sure the baby had food in the stomach,” Adeleye told the court though a translator who spoke Yoruba. Relatives of Adeleye testified that the practice was common in Nigeria, and her lawyer argued that the incident was a "tragic incident" and that there was no criminal conduct. Wood added that this was not a case of child abuse, which would only entail "cruel or inhumane treatment or malicious acts,” which was not the case as Adeleye had merely been trying to feed the infant in her care.

    “All she wanted to do was feed the child,” Wood said. “She wanted to make sure the baby was healthy and the baby was well fed.”

    But prosecutors disagreed with this sentiment. They argued that Enita had woken up Adeleye from a nap and was using the milk as a quick way to get the baby to stop bothering her. 

    “She was getting her to shut up by pouring down the milk,” Prince George’s County Assistant State’s Attorney Artemis Moutsatsos told the court. Prosecutors also argued that Adeleye had acted cruelly toward Enita and without caution forced the milk down her throat, essentially drowning the baby.  

  • In the end, Adeleye's lawyer failed to prove to the judge that the nanny was innocent.

    The trial happened on what would have been Enita's third birthday. When deciding on Adeleye's sentence, Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge Karen H. Mason noted that the mother of five, who is also a grandmother, had lied at several points throughout the police investigation. 

    First, she denied removing the lid of the bottle to homicide detectives during a recorded interview. And the nanny's defense had later agued that much of the milk ran down Adeleye's shirt and down the child's shirt, but Judge Mason noted that emergency responders testified that milk came out of the baby's nose and mouth with each of the 20 chest compressions they administered. She also mentioned that Influence had testified to attempting to suck the liquid out of his daughter's face, which when taken together made her doubt the nanny's story. 

    The judge also said that Adeleye “disregarded any signs of any distress” the child had been displaying while she force-fed her, such as her flailing arms and legs, as seen by the nanny cam video, which proved to be crucial in the final decision of this case. 

    Mason found Adeleye guilty of all the charges set against her -- second-degree murder, second-degree child abuse, and child abuse resulting in death.

    Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha N. Braveboy told reporters that Adeleye's conviction was a victory for the family who had done "everything right" for their little girl and didn't deserve to be so cruelly punished. 

    “You have two loving, caring parents who did everything right,” Braveboy said. “They interviewed the sitter, they got references, and they did their homework and research by all accounts ... but she abused this young child and the reason we were able to prove it is because the parents had the foresight to install a camera." 

    Speaking candidly in court, Influence summed up the extreme horror of the day he lost his daughter. “You left home with a live baby and come home with a dead baby,” he said. “It’s not something I can forget.”

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