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Press Release

District Woman Indicted on Murder and Other Charges In Death of 16-Month-Old Daughter

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Mother Accused of Assaulting Child and Beating Her Two Other Children

            WASHINGTON – Faneshia Scott, 28, of Washington, D.C., has been indicted on charges stemming from the death of her 16-month-old daughter and the beatings of her two other minor children, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu announced today.

            Scott was arrested on April 3, 2018, following her indictment on March 20, 2018, by a grand jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on two counts of first-degree felony murder, with aggravating circumstances, and seven counts of first-degree cruelty to children. The aggravating circumstances allege that the crime was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel and that the victim was especially vulnerable. The charges carry a potential sentence of life in prison with no possibility of release. Scott is to be arraigned on the charges later today.

            According to the government’s evidence, on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at approximately 3 p.m., the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the District of Columbia Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to an apartment in the 5400 block of C Street SE after a report that a 16-month-old child at that location was unconscious and not breathing.

            When first responders arrived, the child, Rhythm Fields, was lying on the living room floor and citizens who had come to her aid were administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The child was cold and had been dead for at least three hours.

            According to the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Rhythm died of blunt force trauma. Her injuries included 23 old and new rib fractures, contusions and abrasions of the head, neck, torso, and extremities, and a subdural hemorrhage. There also was a detection of dextromethorphan substance found in the child.

            According to the government’s evidence, during the investigation of Rhythm’s death, Scott told an MPD detective that she gave her daughter adult cold syrup (dextromethorphan), which was not age appropriate. Instructions on a cough medicine bottle similar to the one administered to the child state, “Do Not Give to Children under Age 12.” A sippy cup/bottle that was found on the scene was forensically examined by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and was found to contain dextromethorphan.

            In addition to the murder charges, Scott was indicted on five counts of first-degree cruelty to children involving Rhythm, covering the time period between Jan. 1, 2017, and the child’s death. These involve acts that caused various injuries, as well as the administration of cough syrup and the alleged failure to obtain medical treatment for the child.

            The other two counts of first-degree cruelty to children allege that Scott beat her two other children, also within the time period of Jan. 1 through March 21, 2017.

            An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

            This case is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department. Assistance has been provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences, and the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency. The case is being investigated and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia G. Wright.

Updated April 4, 2018

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 18-77