Orange Co. mother charged with daughter's death to face judge Friday



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The mother of a young girl whose death was ruled a homicide on Tuesday has been charged with first-degree murder, according to Orange County jail records.

Maryanne Louise Schwartz, 22, was scheduled to face a judge for the new murder charge Thursday but was placed under medical observation instead.

She was originally arrested on a warrant for one count of felony child abuse, investigators said.

The first-degree murder charge was added later on.

“Our homicide detectives, this is a priority for them. They’ll continue to work it around the clock,” said Capt. Angelo Nieves, with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. 

Detectives are now working to figure out exactly how the toddler was killed.

“She made several statements that we’re interested in and working very hard to corroborate,” said Cpl. Dave Nutting with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Eyewitness News was there as crews removed bags of evidence from Schwartz’s apartment on Americana Boulevard.

“All these pieces are adding up to what we believe will be a strong case,” Nutting said.

According to investigators, Schwartz called 911 Friday and reported that her 3-year-old daughter was struck by a hit-and-run driver Friday night. The girl, Yeliani Schwartz-Ojeda, died at a hospital on Saturday.

On Tuesday, the Orange County medical examiner ruled that Yeliani's death was a homicide, saying her injuries weren't caused by a vehicle.

During the investigation into Yeliani's death, medical staff from Arnold Palmer Hospital reported to investigators that another of Schwartz's children had "“multiple bruises on his body that were not consistent with normal child activities.”

Prior to the release of the medical examiner's report Tuesday, Schwartz was in court trying to regain custody of her 2-year-old son, who was placed in foster care following Yeliani's death.

Judge Alicia L. Latimore said Schwartz's son would remain in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

"There were concerns about the bruising in several stages of healing. And there's a concern that the body temperature that when the child came into the hospital was concerning based on the time frame the mother and paramour gave," said DCF investigator Chandra Jones.

Schwartz was arrested after deputies received information that she was in a car with her live-in partner, Vanessa Morales.

Deputies pulled their car and took Schwartz into custody. Morales was also arrested on a charge of driving on a suspended license, along with another traffic charge, investigators said.

Morales' three children were placed in the care of relatives Tuesday after DCF investigators told the judge that the children showed signs of abuse.

Schwartz is being held without bone and is scheduled to appear in court Friday morning.


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