Cincinnati mother charged with murder in baby's death; Bond set at $1 million

CINCINNATI - A Cincinnati woman has been arrested and charged with aggravated murder in the death of her 15-month-old daughter.

Police responding to a call from a concerned family member found the toddler's body in her mother's home Thursday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported ( http://cin.ci/145BgcZ ). Police have not said how the daughter, Robin, died. The coroner's office is investigating.

Janishcia Cottingham, 23, was arrested in the girl's death and her bond was set at $1 million during a court hearing Friday during which she appeared to be heavily sedated.

Her attorney, Daniel Burke, said Cottingham has been placed on suicide watch and has been too out of it to talk in detail.

Relatives say both Robin's parents sought help in caring for her through the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services in the weeks before her death.

Cottingham's mother, Belinda Jones Cottingham, told media outlets that she tried to take the girl to her home in Atlanta in late July but that county authorities wouldn't let her.

After Friday's hearing, Jones Cottingham defended her daughter as "an excellent mother" and blasted the county for what happened.

"I don't know what happened in this situation, but they failed my daughter," she said.

Amy Hollon, a spokeswoman with the county Department of Job and Family Services, denied refusing to allow the girl's grandmother to take her to Atlanta.

"The child was never in our custody," Hollon said. "But we were assessing and identifying services that the family agreed to participate in. We had no prior history with the family and we never received a child abuse or neglect allegation."

She said the agency is investigating how the case was handled to determine "if there are lessons to be learned."

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