BY JESS WISLOSKI, OREN YANIV and CARRIE MELAGO
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Kiana Rosado was all smiles in undated photo. She died yesterday after a neighbor heard screams and the girl stopped breathing while in her East New York apartment.
Jessica Rosado and Raemell Anthony were together at their daughter Kiana's second birthday party.
A horribly bruised Brooklyn girl fell unconscious and died yesterday morning, prompting cops to grill her mother and the mom's boyfriend.
Kiana Rosado, 3, stopped breathing in their East New York apartment about 9:30 a.m. and was pronounced dead later at Jamaica Hospital, authorities said.
"She's my heart. This is my baby," said the girl's biological father, Raemell Anthony, 24.
Celenia Morales, 45, said she heard screams from the neighboring fifth-floor apartment and went in to try to save the girl.
"She seemed to be gasping for air. Then she wasn't breathing. All I saw was the bruises on her face and her head," Morales said. "She didn't look like she was going to make it."
Morales called 911 and followed the dispatcher's instructions to see if Kiana had something stuck in her throat.
"I saw her neck. It was covered in bruises. It looked like she had had nails embedded in her," Morales said.
Morales said the girl's mother, Jessica Rosado, 19 - who told neighbors she is pregnant - stood stunned and the boyfriend, Ruben Pagan, watched quietly as she tried to save the child.
"When I asked where she got the bruises, she \[Rosado\] said, 'She does that to herself. She doesn't want to eat. She doesn't listen,' " Morales said.
Rosado and Pagan were being questioned at the 75th Precinct stationhouse.
Anthony said he hadn't seen his daughter since May 16 because Rosado kept him away. But he recalled that the girl was covered in bruises at that time.
"I asked what happened to you. She said, 'They hit me,' " he said. "I think somebody abused my daughter."
"I'm messed up," an enraged Anthony said outside the police station, where he had gone to seek information. "I've lost my middle daughter. I want answers."
Rosado and Pagan told rescuers that they had given the child a dose of Benadryl and that she had vomited and wet herself that morning. Rosado's sister Jacquelin said Pagan was possessive of his girlfriend.
"He didn't allow us to see her. We didn't get to go to her home," she said.
Police sources said there was bruising on the child, but it was unclear if that caused her death. The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy today.
A spokeswoman for the Administration for Children's Serv.ices would not say whether the agency had been involved with Kiana's family. But a source said the agency had prior contact with the mother, who gave birth when she was 16 and lived with her own mother. There was an unsubstantiated allegation that Rosado was not paying sufficient attention to Kiana, the source said.
With Alison Gendar and Kerry Burke
Originally published on June 28, 2006