By David Brand
A 30-year-old woman whose 1-year-old daughter was beaten to death inside the family’s Auburndale home has not yet been charged in relation to the baby’s death, though she still faces charges for allegedly assaulting her daughter’s twin brother.
Tina Torabi waived her appearance Friday in Queens Supreme Court, where she is charged with first-degree assault for allegedly beating her son Kian in October 2018. She has not been indicted and she has not been charged in the beating death of her daughter Elaina.
A spokesperson for the Queens DA’s office said the investigation is ongoing.
Earlier in the week, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson ruled that Elaina died in October 2018 as a result of “fatal child abuse syndrome,” but Torabi’s attorney said the tragic death was not his client’s fault.
“The fact that the autopsy comes back with a certain determination does not mean that what happened happened because of Tina Torabi,” said defense attorney James Kousouros. “There is no evidence that she inflicted these injuries.”
According to the criminal complaint, Torabi called 911 and reported that Elaina was unresponsive on the morning of Oct. 3. First responders arrived and found Elaina and Kian covered with bruises. The brought Elaina to Flushing Hospital Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.
“The defendant’s alleged actions are incomprehensible. Unfortunately, her 13-month-old son suffered greatly in his short life,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown in October. “An investigation is ongoing with respect to the death of her daughter.”
Two days after Elaina’s death, Torabi’s husband Muhammad Torabi committed suicide by jumping from a building in Midtown Manhattan.
Kousouros declined to say whether he thought Muhammad Torabi was responsible for the baby’s injuries, though he did bring up the husband’s history of domestic violence.
“There was a history of domestic violence by the husband documented for years and years and we know two days after this he went and jumped off a building in Manhattan,” Kousouros said. “What the motivations of that were, time will tell and the evidence will tell.”
Kousouros said Tina Torabi was having an “incredibly difficult” time in detention on Rikers Island.
“This is a mother who lost her child, whose husband jumped off her building and committed suicide and who has been incarcerated,” he said. “We’re hoping she can continue to be in therapy and deal with the issues she has confronted in the past.”