Brooklyn Woman Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Drowning 2-Year-Old Daughter Inside a Storage Container Filled with Water

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Brooklyn Woman Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison for Drowning
2-Year-Old Daughter Inside a Storage Container Filled with Water

Child Was Found Unresponsive by Emergency Medical Services Personnel

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Sunset Park woman has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter for the 2016 drowning death of her 2-year-old daughter, Melody Zheng. The defendant put the victim in a container and held her under water until she stopped struggling. The jury also convicted her of attempted assault for holding her 4-year-old son’s head under water a day earlier.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant had a duty to care for her children and to keep them safe, but instead she used inexplicable and dangerous methods to discipline them – and caused the violent death her daughter. Nothing can bring back little Melody, who had an entire life ahead of her. But, with today’s sentence, we have obtained a measure of justice in this terribly tragic case.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Lin Li, 28, of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Deborah Dowling to 18 years in prison. The defendant was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and first-degree attempted assault on June 4, 2019, following a jury trial.

The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on March 13, 2016, at approximately 8:50 p.m., in an apartment on 47th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, the defendant took her 2-year-old daughter Melody Zheng into the bathroom to punish her. She placed Melody inside a storage container in the tub and filled it with water. The defendant then submerged the child’s head under the water until she stopped struggling, according to evidence presented at trial. She submerged her son under water a day earlier.

The defendant called 911 after submerging her daughter, who was found to be unconscious and unresponsive by EMS. She was taken to Maimonides Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 9:20 p.m. The Medical Examiner determined that Melody had multiple bruises and contusions that were consistent with her being held under water and drowned.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Roger McCready, Counsel to the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Deborah Cohen, of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.