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Mother arrested after young daughter found alone, hungry in filthy apartment

PITTSBURGH — A woman was arrested Tuesday after her 5-year-old daughter was left alone in their East Hills apartment, which police said was filthy.

Officers were called shortly before 12:30 p.m. to the apartment on East Hills Drive. A state constable reported that when attempting to serve an eviction notice, the young girl answered the door and said her parents were not home, according to a criminal complaint.

When officers got to the apartment, they smelled “freshly burned marijuana” and noticed sticky floors, dirt on the walls, piles of dirty laundry and no food in the refrigerator, freezer or cabinets, the complaint said. The girl told the officers that she had not yet eaten that day and was hungry.


In addition to the filthy conditions in the apartment, police said there were numerous bottles of prescription pills within reach of the child, as well as blunt wrappers. A mattress was level with a window that was halfway open.

About 20 minutes after officers arrived at the apartment, a cousin of the girl’s father showed up and explained that the girl’s mother, Makisa Nyama, asked her to babysit her young son but not her daughter, according to the complaint. However, Nyama disputed that claim when she returned to the apartment, telling the officers that the cousin and her boyfriend had agreed to babysit both children while she went to the bank and grocery store.

The girl told the officers that she did not have a babysitter all day, police said. Children, Youth and Families was notified and the girl was put in the care of her grandmother after she was checked out at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Nyama was arrested and taken to the Allegheny County Jail. She is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Jeremiah's Place in East Liberty is working to prevent situations like Tuesday’s.

“Our mission really is to stand in the gap for mothers and family members who are raising children when they’re having an emergency or a crisis in their lives,” Lisa Perry, Jeremiah's Place, said.

CLICK HERE for more information about Jeremiah's Place.