ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- The father and aunt of a child have been charged with killing her.
According to Alpharetta Police Department spokesman George Gordon, the 4-year-old girl died as a result of "extreme alcohol toxicity." Court documents said the child, Shakira Decelien, had a blood alcohol level of .272, more than three times the legal limit for an adult driver.
Officers told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik that they were called to a condo unit on Homestead Trail in Alpharetta for a medical emergency just after midnight Friday.
Court documents accuse Shakira's father, Wilguens, and his sister-in-law, Mara, of "feeding" alcohol to the child hours before she died. They were both charged with felony cruelty to children and felony murder.
The child's aunt waited nearly three hours before calling for help, a police report said. When officers arrived, the aunt said Shakira "may" have drunk some rum and that she wouldn't wake up, the report said. Police also said they found several liquor bottles and trash inside the home.
"She is cooperating fully with investigators and adamantly denies the charges," Mara Decelien's lawyer, Karen Pass, told Petchenik.
Shakira was transported from the home to an area hospital and later died, police said.
Five other children taken from the home were being held in state custody, court documents said.
Officers swarmed the area while they investigated throughout the morning after they arrived. Petchenik went to the scene where police cordoned off a large section of the parking lot at the Planter's Ridge condos.
Police said child deaths are especially difficult to deal with.
"It's never easy for us to investigate something like this," Alpharetta police spokeswoman Jennifer Howard said. “We all care about children. This is the hardest type of case to investigate.”
The Fulton County District Attorney's Office, which is helping with the investigation, interviewed family members.
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