Tenisha Fearon was described by her neighbors in Brooklyn as a good and protective single mom. But for some reason Thursday, she threw her 6-month-old daughter out a window amid religious affirmations and screams about the devil.
A neighbor named Carol Watson told the New York Times that she can’t make sense of what she did to her baby.
“Something must have snapped. She was a good mother and very protective of those children. All I can tell you is that something must have snapped. She must have had a breakdown or something. The children were always clean and well looked after. But you never know what is going on in someone’s head. People are under all kinds of stress these days.”
The scene outside the Brooklyn apartment was hectic. Neighbors told the New York Daily News that Tenisha, 27, was throwing things out the window and arguing with herself. When she brought the baby to the window next, she was completely naked.
Residents climbed the fire escape of a building nearby and ran to its rooftop, screaming at her to stop. The woman screamed “Praise the Lord” and “Hallelujah” and “We’re all going to die!” while dangling little Junilah Lawrence over the pavement below.
“(She said), ‘I’m going to throw the baby out the window!’ and she was screaming, ‘We’re all going to die!’ and that’s when I figured, ‘OK, this is time to call 911,'” neighbor Lizette Rodriguez told CBS Local. “While I’m on the phone with 911, I heard, ‘Thump,’ and I started to tell her: ‘I heard a thump. I think she threw the baby,’ and you heard the people screaming.”
The unthinkable had happened: she threw her daughter. Afterward, Gregorio Rodriguez watched what happened next through the window: the woman lay on the floor with her other three kids — two girls and a boy — also naked and lying on their backs.
“I actually thought that they weren’t alive when I saw them lying on the floor naked,” he said. Fearon then jumped up and began to hit the glass, and “That’s when I started calling for more help because I thought she might throw more (kids) out.”
Police arrived and had to break down the apartment door to get inside and apprehend Fearon and rescue the other kids. As they took her away, she said “the devil is in her,” though it’s not clear whether she was referring to the Junilah or herself.
Fearon’s godmother, Louella Hatch, said she’d been showing signs of instability and had been talking about the devil for days.
“She feels like the devil is in her. Yesterday I went (to her home) and that’s what she told me. She’s saying the same thing today. She needs help… I want her to get help. Something’s got to be wrong. She wouldn’t do that.”
The other three children, aged 10 to 4, were not harmed but were removed from the home and placed with the city’s child welfare agency. As for the woman’s 6-month-old daughter, she was found broken on the pavement and taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The woman has been charged with second-degree murder. Police don’t yet know why she threw her baby from the window but are trying to determine her motive.
Back in Tenisha’s apartment building, the neighbors are left with a horrifying memory and nothing but questions. Her sister, Alicia, said no one in the family knew whether the young mom suffered from any emotional or mental illnesses.
“Tenisha loved her children dearly, and she cared for her [them] 100 percent. This is a shocker for us.”
Sadly, this is the third time something like that has happened in the city, ABC News reported. Last month, a newborn was found, umbilical cord attached, dead outside an apartment building. The mother was charged with murder and manslaughter; the woman hid the pregnancy and threw her baby from a seventh-story window shortly after delivery. And in Queens this summer, a woman who claimed her month-old son was possessed by an evil spirit threw him from a window as well.
[Photo Courtesy Anastasios71 / Shutterstock]