(NationalUSNews.com) — The family of a toddler who died last year has spoken out about the tragic death of the 18-month-old girl and offered a warning to other parents about how some people are actual “monsters.” According to Iris Rita Alfera’s family, the young girl enjoyed watching YouTube creator Ms. Rachel and began learning sign language before her death. Alfera’s family is now speaking about how someone maliciously poisoned the young girl, intentionally causing her death. Alfera’s great-aunt spoke about the tragedy and cautioned parents about leaving their children with vindictive people.
Crystal Joseph, the toddler’s great-aunt, said that someone poisoned Alfera to hurt her mother, 22-year-old Emily Alfera. Joseph claimed that the entire community was mourning the loss of Alfera and issued a warning about leaving children with someone who exhibits signs of jealousy. Joseph’s warning comes as authorities arrested the person they believe poisoned Iris Rita Alfera. The arrest comes almost a year after the young girl’s death, which medical examiners ruled a homicide.
According to authorities, Aleisia Owens is responsible for Iris Rita Alfera’s poisoning. Owens allegedly gave the young girl acetone, a powerful cleaning agent commonly used in nail polish remover, to deliberately hurt the child. Prosecutors claim that Owens, who was dating Alfera’s father, poisoned the young girl to hurt the child’s mother due to jealousy. Prosecutors are also accusing Owens of spending months researching various methods of harming children and arguing that Owens acted with malicious intent while poisoning the young girl.
The police charged Owens with homicide, attempted murder, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a minor, and various other criminal offenses. Owens is currently being held in custody at Lawrence County Jail and doesn’t have an opportunity for pre-trial release. The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office provided a comment regarding Alfera’s death, calling the case “heartbreaking.”
According to the attorney general, Owens spent months researching different items that could harm or kill young children. Authorities allege that Owens gave Alfera multiple batteries, over 20 water beads, and, in one incident, a metal screw. Alfera ingested each of these potentially fatal items, resulting in multiple hospitalizations at the UPMC Children’s Hospital, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Following her warning, Joseph discussed the family’s desire for stricter visitation laws and for authorities to provide a closer examination of cases involving separated parents. Joseph also claims that Owen’s arrest and possible conviction aren’t relieving to the family, as they’re “paralyzed” with grief over Iris Rita Alfera’s death.
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