Jeida Torres
- October 18, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial

Police responded to a call that came from a homeless shelter and when they got there, they found three year old Jeida and her five year old brother, covered in bruises. Jeida was taken to the hospital suffering cardiac arrest and sadly, she did not survive. That was on Saturday, October 18 2014. On the following Monday, the Medical Examiner ruled that Jeida had died from the beating and ruled her death a homicide. When Police arrived at the shelter, just before 4:00 p.m., Kelsey Smith, the man who had beat the children, was gone.

Neighbors who live in the shelter said that apartment where this family had been living, was a place where aggressive behavior took place:

"I hear when they fight upstairs. But I don't see no more"
Anonymous Woman

"Three or four times a  week I'd hear it and never though anything about it"
Giovanni Rodriguez



Neighbors had heard the sound of children screaming coming from the apartment and someone called 911. Kelsey acted like he didn't live there and was downstairs telling people that the children who lived upstairs were acting up and said that someone needed to call the Police, when in fact HE called Police, pretending to be a concerned neighbor. Right after he called, Kimberly Torres, his wife and mother to the children called Police and according to those who saw it, she was clearly in a panic.

When Police arrived and went up to the apartment, five year old Andrew Torres answered that door and Police found that he was home alone except for his baby sister. Andrew told Police that Kelsey had become angry when Jeida had an accident in her pants, shoving the little girls face into the dirty underwear and forcing her to eat it. Andrew said that he had tried to help his little sister, but that's when Kelsey had turned on him and then, kicked Jeida and slammed her head into a wall before running out of the apartment. Kelsey called Kimberly and she said he seemed upset.

"He said he did something bad to the kids. He said the daughter was not breathing"
Anonymous neighbor



Kelsey had gone to the home of his aunt and while he tried to slit his wrists while Jeida was being transported to Wyckoff Hospital, where she died of the injuries he had given her:

"He called the cops before he left, I call my Aunt and she was just trying to find his location.
She asked him where he was and he refused and hung on her. She was so upset"
Tina Torres - Cousin

Police were given a tip that Kelsey had tried to kill himself by cutting his wrists and after his mother let them know where he was, he was treated at the hospital for his wounds and then Kelsey, the 20 year old stepfather of Jeida and her sister was arrested and charged with second degree murder and acting in a manner that was injurious to a child under the age of 17 years old.

Kelsey's Uncle, Mark Almodovar, said that his nephew is not a monster, that he had backslapped Jeida in the ribs while in a fit of rage:

"The kid, he's not that type of person. They said he was a monster, he's not a monster.
Sometimes kids don't listen to their parents and they need to be discipline. But the way
he disciplined them was very wrong"
Mark Almodovar



WAKE  UP MARK. What kind of a man does what this MONSTER did, to a child? Disciplining a child does NOT involved forcing them to eat feces and slamming their head into a wall.

Police said that Kelsey had 15 prior arrests that dated back to the year 2008 and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams made a promise to fully investigate the death of this little Angel when neighbors said they had hear fighting in that apartment for a long time:

"If this young child and brother had old physical injuries, then it means that we are creating
a safe haven for abusers. And that is unacceptable"

Police Officers, Teachers and Doctors by law, are supposed to report suspected child abuse, unfortunately that law didn't extend to the homeless shelters. After Jeida's death, State Senator Kevin Parker as well as other elected officials have proposed legislation that would change that:

"You assume that everybody that comes in contact with children in this context would
have that mandate, but they obviously didn't. And so we really need to close that loophole"
Kevin parker

Had the law already been in place, Jeida might be alive today:

"I believe it's possible that someone could have heard the child screaming or crying or may
have saw an old wound on the child. How did was lose a three year old to abuse? Anyone
who is a parent in this city felt the chills when you read the story of a three year old losing
her life and her brother also brutalized by some sick mind. We want to be clear, the best
protection is early detection"
Eric Adams

What this site creator finds to be the saddest of all, is that ANYONE thinks they need a law in place before they do the right things. Why is the life of a child dependent on if a law is in place FORCING someone to help out? If a child is screaming, being abused and obviously in danger, it shouldn't take a law being made before someone helps that child. What kind of person could turn their back on a child that way?

Of course officials at the shelter claimed that they didn't have any reports of abuse and said that someone from a non- profit group that is in charge of the shelter had checked on this family and saw no signs of abuse on either child:

"There was nothing to report, everything was fine"
Hank Sheinkopf - Housing Bridge

Kelsey's family was sticking up for him saying that he never intended to hurt Jeida or Andrew. Richard Torres Jr., a cousin to these children said that he saw Andrew after he had been punched by Kelsey:

"I picked him up and asked what happened. He said "My head, my back", I lifted up his
shirt and saw the bruises. I was in shock, I felt like I was gonna have a heart attack"



Jeida's father, Pedro Torres said he had not trusted Kelsey from the very beginning because he knew that he had been arrested many time, but Kimberly had did what she could to assure him that the children in the home would be okay:

"I know the people he used to hang around. I don't want my kids around someone getting arrested.
She always told me, "Yeah, he got arrested. But he's not a bad guy. he's not bad towards the kids".
I actually have hate toward him for taking my daughter away from me"

Kelsey and Kimberly had married in July and then moved to the Bushwick shelter. In court, Kelsey answered the questions that were asked by the Judge and Prosecutor Bernarda Villolona said that while he was supposed to be baby sitting the children when Kimberly went to work, Kelsey lost it:

"Instead of watching her, it took a different turn of events"

Jeida died of blunt force trauma after being kicked and having her head smashed. Kelsey was held without bail and if convicted, was facing 50 years:

"We intend to seek justice on behalf of these two beautiful, innocent children"
District Attorney - Kenneth Thompson

Pedro said that his son Andrew seems to be doing okay an that many people have been sending him gifts that he had been playing with, including a portable DVD player. Pedro said that he had not yet told Andrew what had happened and he just wants to be sure that his son is safe and won't have to go through anything like this ever again. Custody of Andrew would be in the hands of family court since the Administration For Children's Services had charged her with neglect.

A small memorial was started for Jeida at the shelter.





UPDATE: November 30, 2014 (Thank you to Cat for this update):

Jeida's wake was a sad and emotional time for her family and other loved ones as well as those who never had the privilege to meet her. At the Grace Funeral Chapels, over 200 people showed up to say their good byes to this precious little girl who for her burial wore a white dress with white patent leather shoes and a tiara sparkled on her head while she held a silver cross. At Jeida's feet were placed a stuffed Minnie Mouse as well as a Hello Kitty.

Pictures surrounded her casket, of Jeida in happy times, holding flowers and smiling as big as she could. In attendance that day were five members of the Harlem Youth Marine Cadets who would later carry the small casket when the service was over.

   

Jeida's father, Pedro, is comforted by those who attend the wake.

On November 7, 2014, Kelsey Smith walked into court in shackles with his hand in a cast and plead not guilty. Reports said that he had called his mother and told her had "f****d up soon after what he had done. In his court appearance, Kelsey didn't say a word as his lawyer, Craig Newman entered his guilty plead. Supreme Court Judge Neil Firetog denied bail and set another court appearance for February of 2015.

When the hearing ended, Craig Newman said that while he had tried to commit suicide after what happened, Kelsey was now doing as well as could be expected of a man in his position.


After the death of Jeida, a Queens Council Woman named Elizabeth Crowley planned to introduce legislation that would require homeless families who wanted to enter into a shelter, to watch a video and be given information about domestic violence in an effort to educate them, before they could actually live in the shelter.

The bill proposed that the Department Of Homeless Services would be required to show the video and hand out brochures containing information about domestic violence toward adults and child abuse:

"Shelter residents must be schooled on what behavior will not
be tolerated,
while victims will be more likely to realize they can
 seek help. Force should
not be used when you think you are
disciplining a child"


This page was created on November 9, 2014
Death occurred in the state of New York

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