A Chandler woman accused of suffocating a 2-year-old girl at a day-care center was released from jail while detectives do more investigation.
Candalaria Bradford, 46, was arrested and booked Jan. 13 on suspicion of second-degree murder, but she wasn’t charged with a crime.
The state has 48 hours after an arrested person’s first court appearance to file charges.
Michael Scerbo, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, said Chandler police made the arrest before submitting the case to prosecutors.
“After reviewing the case, our prosecutors determined further investigation was necessary before our office can file charges,” Scerbo said.
Sgt. Joseph Favazzo, Chandler police spokesman, said homicide detectives, prosecutors and the county medical examiner are expected to meet in a few days to discuss the case further.
“It could take several more weeks before a decision is made on the case,” Favazzo said.
Favazzo said Chandler police had enough evidence to establish probable cause for the arrest and went ahead with it because Bradford was working at the day-care center.
According to court documents, the medical examiner determined the cause of Selenia Moreno’s death was suffocation, and the manner of death was homicide.
The documents also mention an unnamed witness who saw Bradford pushing the child’s face down into a mat Nov. 5 at Colorful Kids Preschool in Chandler after she became fussy during nap time.
The witness said that when she returned a short time later, the toddler was lying face down, no longer crying, and Bradford was still at her side.
A half-hour later, Bradford left for the day, and other teachers discovered Selenia not breathing an hour later.
Bradford did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Selenia was a just a few days from being adopted by her Chandler foster parents.
According to court documents, she was abandoned by her mother and lived in squalor until Child Protective Services took custody of her in September 2007.