Authorities have charged a foster mother in connection to the death of a 20-month old girl.
Police responded to a call in the 7500 block of Ash Avenue regarding an unresponsive child on May 4. Upon their arrival, they learned that it was a young child who was unresponsive. The Lake County Coroner’s office soon pronounced the girl dead at the scene. Emma was just a few months shy of her second birthday when she died.
Authorities later identified the deceased child as Emma Salinas. She was under the care of foster mother Jamila S. Hodge at the time of her death. According to the Gary Police Department, Hodge is now in custody as an investigation into the child’s death continues.
According to a report from WGN, Emma was in Hodge’s custody along with the child’s older siblings. The Indiana Department of Child Services put the children in a foster home after a domestic incident involving their mother.
Children were in trouble at the foster home.
Angela Salinas, Emma’s biological mother, got into an argument that led to her arrest. “The cops were involved and they took me away for a minute; I proved everything wrong, and they had taken my kids away and made a case out of nothing,” Salinas said.
Salinas’ children remained in a foster home while she sorted out her legal issues. When she went to see her children though, she suspected that something was wrong. ” My second oldest, she had a bruise by her eye and she didn’t want to tell me. She was scared,” Salinas told ABC7. She also said her other children also appeared to have been harmed recently. “My son had a stye in his eye and he had bruises on them. And they wouldn’t tell me anything. They were scared,” Salinas further said.
At the same time, Salinas said she noticed that Emma did not seem to be feeling well the day that she died. In fact, she had a fever. At the same time, she also had some bruises and scratches on her body. Despite the visual signs of harm, Salinas said she had been told that her children were doing fine.
Foster mother is now facing multiple charges, including murder.
As a result of their investigation, Hodge has now been charged with Murder, Aggravated Battery, Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Death as well as other felonies. Anyone with more information on the case can contact Detective Kristopher Adams of the Lake County/Gary Metro Homicide Unit at 219-755-3855 or the Crime Tip Line at 866-CRIME-GP.