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Woman charged with murder, child abuse blames 9-year-old son for toddler’s death

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.  - A 36-year-old mother is facing second-degree murder charges, along with four counts of child abuse, after her youngest child was found dead.

Family members say they started to realize something was wrong when they couldn't get in touch with 36-year-old Marie Chishahayo.

Court documents say Chishahayo's brother had tried to call her, but she didn't answer.

When he stopped by her apartment with his children, she refused to answer the door.

Finally, he told police he went back to Chishahayo's apartment again and was let inside by her 9-year-old son.

When he tried to go upstairs, Chishahayo stood in his way, saying her children were sleeping upstairs.

According to court documents obtained by KCTV, there were broken dishes and furniture scattered around the apartment.

KCTV reports that he found Chishahayo's 3-year-old daughter hiding under a blanket.

As he moved the blanket, the girl reportedly said, "Mommy, you're hurting me, stop it."

After he lifted the blanket, he discovered the body of his 2-year-old niece.

The mother, according to court records, initially told police that she had not hit the children.

Instead, she told authorities that she allowed her 9-year-old son to punish them.

She told officers that he heated a knife and burned one of the children all over her body.

According to WDAF, Chishahayo told police that she allowed him to do so "because God had told him to."

She also told officers that she saw her 9-year-old son pick up his younger sister and throw her against the wall several times.

Authorities say there was evidence of a fire in the apartment, which may have played a role in the girl's death.

At this time, they still are not sure how long the 2-year-old was dead before she was found.

The 3-year-old little girl is still in the hospital for treatment.

"She can answer all kinds of questions but when you ask her what happened and who did this, she won't say anything. I think she's scared," said Danny Stephen, Chishahayo's brother-in-law.

"I never smelled fires, heard them fighting, nothing. Who would do something like that? Who would let their 9-year-old torture the kids like that?" said Verbana Fisher, the woman's next door neighbor.

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