Uncle Charged in Abuse, Death of Special Needs Girl - New York News

Uncle Charged in Abuse, Death of Special Needs Girl

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A 47-year-old man has been criminally charged with the death of his 5-year-old niece.

Last Wednesday, Phoenix Police officers were called to Leonard Orta Jr.'s home on reports of a family fight.

The body of 5-year-old Kaiya Kapahu, Orta's niece, was found in a bedroom. Orta had been taking care of Kapahu, a special needs child, since July 2009.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Luis Samudio says he's suspected of deliberately withholding medication and food from the child, who had Rett Syndrome, a developmental disorder with symptoms that are often similar to autism.

Kapahu was staying with Orta in Arizona because the treatment she needed was not available in her home state of Hawaii.

Orta has been charged with first degree murder, child abuse, and abandonment or concealment of a dead body.

An account has been set up at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union in her name, to raise funds to fly her remains back to her family in Hawaii.

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