Officials: Toddler's death ruled homicide, injuries not from hit-and-run


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The mother of a child whose death was ruled a homicide on Tuesday has been arrested on a child abuse charge involving another of her children, according to Orange County sheriff's investigators.

Maryanne Louise Schwartz, 22, was arrested Wednesday on a warrant for one count of felony child abuse, investigators 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 traumatic head injury wasn'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.” They said the child also showed signs of malnourishment.

Prior to release of the Medical Examiner's Tuesday Schwartz as 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 place in the care of relatives Tuesday after DCF investigators told the judge on Tuesday that the children showed signs of abuse.

Schwartz was questioned by investigators and then transported to the Orange County Jail Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators said Schwartz was cooperative during their investigation into the child abuse charge.

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