Caretaker charged with murder of baby girl found in Kemble Park

baby

Days after police found a baby girl’s body in a shallow grave in Kemble Park in Logan, police say the infant’s caretaker has been charged with murder.

Nyishia Corbitt, 33, of the 5600 block of Ogontz Avenue, is facing murder and abuse of corpse charges for the death of 22-month-old Alina Barnes, who was found Oct. 15 buried in a shallow grave in a North Philly park, police announced Thursday.

Alina died on Oct. 9 from suffocation, police said. They did not share any further details about why or how the infant died.

Corbitt was caring for the baby in an apartment across the street from Kemble Park, where Alina’s corpse was later discovered.

Corbitt was caring for the baby because Alina’s biological mother, Brooke Barnes, 32, has been in custody in Montgomery County since Oct. 2 for multiple retail thefts and detainers, police said. She had three prior arrests in Philadelphia for narcotics and theft charges, police said.

Alina’s father, Drescon Diggs, 32, had two children, aged 4 and 5, with Corbitt, who were living with Corbitt’s own mother at the time of Alina’s death. Diggs was reportedly residing in West Philadelphia and working as an Uber/Lyft driver at the time of the infant’s death. 

Kemble Park, where Alina Barnes' body was discovered.

Mysterious suffocation of 22-month-old baby Alina Barnes

While details remain murky, after Barnes was arrested, Alina wound up in the care of Corbitt, who was staying at a relative’s apartment on Ogontz Avenue. By Oct. 9, Alina was dead from suffocation.

At a press conference Thursday, Homicide Unit Capt. John Ryan declined to share specific details about how or why Alina was suffocated. But he said Corbitt “disclosed to her mother” that Alina had gone missing, and her mother then contacted police.

Investigators quickly found surveillance video outside Corbitt’s building on Oct. 9 that captured her taking the body of Alina, believed to already be deceased, in a baby carrier out of the building and crossing the street into Kemble Park near 16th Street and Olney Ave, just across the street.

Police found Alina in a shallow grave in that park on Oct. 15.

“It’s a terrible tragedy,” Capt. Ryan said at a press conference on Thursday. “For a child to meet an end such as this, this should happen to no one.”

Ryan declined to comment on what Corbitt told police or why the infant was suffocated.

“We’re not going to discuss the confessions,” Capt. Ryan said. “We’re not going to discuss what Ms. Corbitt told us. … She’s very distraught.”

Asked if more criminal charges could be filed in this case, Ryan said “there is potential for that.”

In addition to murder and abuse of corpse, Corbitt is also charged with possession of an instrument of crime, false reports, tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice, police said.

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