NORFOLK, Va. - A Norfolk couple accused in the death of an 11-year-old girl faced a judge early Monday morning.
The girl's mother, Latoya Smith, was emotional when she came into the courtroom, wiping tears away from her face as the judge spoke.
Neither Smith nor her boyfriend, Demont Harris, said much as they sat before the judge.
Both were arrested and charged with second degree murder after police found Smith's 11-year-old daughter, Heaven Watkins, unresponsive Friday morning at a home on Balview Avenue.
Authorities say the child had serious injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Neighbors told News 3 the girl had autism and cerebral palsy.
People who live on the same block as this family said they should have seen the warning signs. They said they were told the child had bruises but they remember her always in a jacket. They said Harris, Smith and their children just moved here a little over a month ago and they are both not from here.
Court documents say two other girls, ages 6 and 8, were taken from Smith's home because their lives and health were in "imminent danger."
Smith has a previous child abuse and neglect charge from an incident in February. Harris had a previous assault charge, all linked somehow to this case. Police will not yet comment on the February incident, only saying the charges all relate to the death of Heaven Watkins.
Smith and Harris are due in court in the next few days.