West Oak Lane caretaker faces maximum of 47 years in prison in 2-year-old boy’s death

The West Oak Lane caretaker of a 2-year-old faces a maximum of 47 years in prison in connection with the boy’s death in 2017, prosecutors announced Monday.

Jedayah Nesmith, 27, pleaded guilty on Aug. 17 to third-degree murder, endangering the welfare of a child, abuse of corpse and related charges.

"The criminal justice system can never bring back this beautiful two-year-old boy's life," said DA Larry Krasner. "But I'm grateful to ADA Nora Nienhagan Greenberg for helping to hold this defendant accountable. I also cannot stress enough the important role that the public has in notifying social services and law enforcement if you believe a child's life is in danger. By working together, we can protect the lives of our most precious residents and avoid terrible, heartbreaking tragedies like this."

In February of 2017, the child's mother asked Nesmith, with whom she was romantically involved, to take temporary custody of the child due to a change in the mother's work schedule. Nesmith agreed and the child began living full-time with her in her apartment, located on the 7100 block of N. 15th Street. The mother, who lived at a different location, maintained regular contact with Nesmith, who falsely claimed on numerous occasions that the child was residing with Nesmith's mother in the Poconos and that she could not reach the mother by phone. 


Authorities discovered the child on March 22, 2017, after Nesmith arranged to pay her ex-boyfriend $1,000 in order to dispose of the child's body, according to prosecutors.

The ex-boyfriend discovered the body in the apartment and later notified police. The Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office determined that the child likely died from numerous physical injuries to the head and body, in addition to starvation and dehydration. Antifreeze was also found in the child's system.

Krasner encourages anyone that suspects child abuse to call the Philadelphia Department of Human Services 24/7 hotline: 215-683-6100. 


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