Woman accused of killing 9-year-old daughter

The child's mother was arrested at a shopping center.

WESTMINSTER, Calif. — A California woman is accused of killing her 9-year-old daughter, authorities said Friday.

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Khadiyjah Pendergraph, 32, of Westminster, was arrested on Friday and booked into the Orange County Jail on suspicion of murder, the Los Angeles Times reported.

According to a news release from the Westminster Police Department, officers responded to a home at 12:04 PST to conduct a welfare check after receiving a tip from a concerned family member, KTLA-TV reported.

Officers forced themselves into the apartment and discovered the girl dead and alone “with obvious signs of trauma,” according to KNBC-TV.

Pendergraph was identified as a person of interest, the Times reported. She was located and arrested at a shopping center in Aliso Viejo by Westminster police detectives.

“While police officers are exposed to tragedies on a daily basis, this murder is particularly disturbing, due to the senseless loss of a child allegedly at the hands of her own mother,” Westminster police Chief Darin Lenyi said in a statement.

Neighbors expressed shock at the news of the child’s death.

“It just can’t be, it’s like a nightmare. It’s a nice neighborhood,” Evelyn Gonzalez told KNBC. “This is, you know, all the neighbors play together. I have four boys, and my boys are always playing with all the children around the block and I just cannot believe it.

“I’m in shock.”

“All I can think is maybe being sad or overwhelmed or something like that. But,  in any event, I don’t know. It’s just shocking to hear,” another neighbor, John Byrne, told the television station.

The girl’s name and cause of death have not been released by police, The Orange County Register reported. Police added that there were no additional suspects and said the incident appeared to be isolated, according to the Times.

It also was unclear what led to the child’s death.

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