Norfolk woman arrested, charged in death of 20-month-old girl

Posted at 1:07 PM, May 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-21 18:55:09-04

A 24-year-old Norfolk woman was arrested Sunday and charged in the death of a 20-month-old toddler.

Norfolk Police say Emily Defries identified herself as the step-mother of the 20-month-old girl and was babysitting her and two other children on Sunday. Police tell NewsChannel 3 that Defries was not married.

Defries told police that she called 911 at approximately 5:36 p.m. after she found the girl at the bottom of the steps inside her home in the 7000 block of Gregory Drive.

Medics responded and transported the girl to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where she was pronounced deceased at approximately 6:10 p.m.

Defries told investigators that she had periodically checked on the girl while she was sleeping upstairs.

The Medical Examiner's Office determined the girl's cause of death was due to Homicide by Blunt Force Trauma.

The investigation is ongoing.

She appeared in court on Wednesday. No one was there to support her and she didn't show any emotion as her defense attorney made plans for her bond hearing.

Defries is currently being held without bond in the Norfolk City Jail.

Per Fleet Forces, Defries was previously enlisted in the Navy and assigned to the USS George H.W. Bush. She was honorably discharged in March.