Richmond 2-year-old died from dehydration; stepmother charged w/ murder

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Police say a Richmond woman is facing murder and child neglect charges after the death of her 2-year-old stepdaughter.

Police announced in a news release Monday that a grand jury indicted 35-year-old Andrea Watkins-Simmons on first-degree murder, felony murder and child neglect charges last week. On Tuesday, officials confirmed the cause of the young girl’s death was dehydration.

Police say officers were called to a rental property on Chamberlayne Avenue on Jan. 16 after a body was found in an unoccupied apartment. Police say the body was identified as 2-year-old Ariellisa Simmons, who had been reported missing.


Watkins-Simmons was reported missing in November and police said at the time that they believed the girl was with her.

Police say Watkins-Simmons was arrested in New York in late January on a charge of felony abduction and was returned to Virginia last week.

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