(BLOOMINGTON) - More than 50 people attended a candlelight vigil Tuesday to remember a Bloomington toddler who police said died at the hands of her mother.
Doctors said 2-year-old I'Nere Wallace suffered a severe head injury. Bloomington Police found her at a home in the 2300 block of South Henderson Street on July 17, following a report of a child having difficulty breathing. The girl was transported to IU Bloomington Hospital where medical personnel found indications of possible child abuse.
The child's mother, 23-year-old Tameria Kline, was preliminarily charged with neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony. Kline's girlfriend, 20-year-old Dominique Irby, was preliminarily charged with battery of a minor, a Class D felony.
When Kline and Irby were brought in for questioning, police said Irby admitted to abusing the toddler in the past while the mother allegedly watched. Police said they both denied abusing the child to the point that it caused brain injury, though.
Irby told police she used a belt to spank the girl, leaving welts on her buttocks. Additionally, Irby reportedly said she tied the toddler's arms to her legs using a t-shirt, because the girl pulled her own hair out.
At the vigil, her father held onto her pacifier as loved ones prayed.
Wallace's uncle says the family doesn't know what happened, but that he had a message for Kline.
"We don't hate you. We know you. There had to be a reason for this and we got it for you," said Fred Young. "So just do what you can and just know we are here and that's all we can do. We can't see you, we can't visit you, but we'll try. So if you see this, know that we love you. We are doing this for you and her."
An autopsy was performed on Wallace. Once the findings are revealed, police said they will consult with the prosecutor's office to determine additional charges.
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