NEW HANOVER WOMAN CHARGED WITH SLAYING OF DAUGHTER, 3
* NANCY MONTALBANO ADMITS SHE HIT THE GIRL, BUT SAYS NOT HARD ENOUGH TO CAUSE `THESE INJURIES.'
Author: FRANK DEVLIN, The Morning Call
Staff writer Keith Herbert contributed to this report.
A 46-year-old New Hanover Township woman has been charged with killing a 3-year-old girl she adopted from Honduras, Montgomery County District Attorney Michael Marino said Monday.
Nancy Montalbano, of 2431 Deep Creek Road, was arraigned Monday before East Greenville District Justice Catherine Hummel and is being held in Montgomery County Prison without bail, Marino said.
A preliminary hearing has been set for Monday.
Montalbano's adopted daughter, Christine, was pronounced dead at 1:06 p.m. Saturday after she took the child to Grand View Hospital, West Rockhill Township, Marino said.
An autopsy by Dr. Ian Hood found 28 injuries, Marino said, including blunt trauma to the body and a lacerated liver.
Montalbano, a single mother, first told authorities that "the child fell down," the district attorney said. But "the injuries were inconsistent with a fall," he said.
Later, Montalbano admitted that she struck the child because the little girl "tipped over the potty and soiled herself." However, Marino said, Montalbano has not conceded she hit her daughter "to the degree and severity of these injuries."
"It's typical of a situation where a mother loses her temper and lashes out," he said.
A woman who lives across the street from Montalbano said Montalbano was host for a party for friends and neighbors after adopting Christine, giving her adopted son, Ritchie, a sister.
She recalled the 3-year-old as a "darling little girl with big, brown eyes" who was learning to speak English.
The neighbor, who lives at 2423 Deep Creek Road, but wouldn't give her name, said Montalbano "had to go down to Honduras a lot" and was "just thrilled to have this little girl."
"I'm still in shock," the neighbor said.
Montalbano, who also has adopted a Honduran boy, now 4, has been charged with third-degree murder, Marino said, adding he did not know where or if she worked.
She also has been charged with voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and simple and aggravated assault, Marino said.
New Hanover Township police took the boy into protective custody and turned him over to Montgomery County Children and Youth, which has placed him temporarily in a foster home, said Children and Youth Services Administrative Officer Laurie O'Connor.
Officials said Monday that they did not know which agency Montalbano used to adopt the children. O'Connor said the adoptions did not take place through Children and Youth.
Dennis Sinkowski, Montalbano's next-door neighbor, said the family fit in with the other neighbors on the quiet, tree-lined street.
"That's why we live up in the country," Sinkowski said. "But that don't mean you can't have something terrible happen next to you."