After police in St. Paul, Minnesota identified the child found dead on the back porch of her family home as Melody Vang, local authorities have arrested and charged her 29-year-old mother Cia Shia Lee with second-degree murder without intent. If convicted, she faces up to 40 years in prison. The Ramsey County medical examiner's office determined the cause of death as homicide by "closed head trauma due to assault." Both parents were taken into custody for suspicion of murder, but the girl's father has not been charged with any crimes as of yet.
According to Minnesota's local news station WCCO, the criminal complaint began after police were called to the family's home at 2:30 a.m. on Sunday. Police were met with a man at the door who claimed his 2-year-old daughter was dead. After which, officers found the girl on the back porch wrapped in bedding and a rug and only wearing a diaper. She had bruises all over her body and a black eye. It's unclear as to how long the child was left outside, but rigor mortis had already set in.
About 12 hours before Melody's father called police early Sunday, the family's landlord made an appearance at the Dayton's residence, Twin Cities reports. He took photos of the disturbing bruising on the child's face — her right eye and left cheek had dark bruises — and he reported the incident to child protection.
Police questioned Vang's parents, and the child's mother admitted to hitting her daughter repeatedly for various reasons. Lee revealed she hit, punched, and scratched multiple times because her crying woke their youngest child.
The mother went on to tell police how the 2-year-old had a habit of dropping to the ground and crying when she didn't get her way and that she had been spoiled while in foster care. She explained that she constantly put her child in "time out" closet and beat her as punishment. She also shared that she "gets angry and hears voices."
The couple has five other children, ages ranging from 8 months to 11 years. All of whom were taken into protective custody. The victim and her siblings had just been reunited with their parents within the last year after spending time in foster care. The family had also recently lived in a shelter before moving into their current home.