Sunset Park

Sunset Park mom gets 18 years in jail for killing her daughter

February 26, 2020 Paula Katinas

A 28-year-old woman responsible for the drowning death of her young daughter has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced Wednesday.

A jury convicted Lin Li of first degree manslaughter for the 2016 drowning death of her two-year-old daughter, Melody Zheng.

The case was shocking, according to law enforcement officials, who said Li put the little girl in a container as a form of punishment and held the child underwater until she stopped struggling.

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At the same trial, the jury also found Li guilty of first degree attempted assault in a case involving her four-year-old son. The defendant held the child under water a day earlier, officials said.

The trial took place in Brooklyn Supreme Court in June.

Lin Li, who was convicted in June in the drowning death of her daughter, was also found guilty in the attempted assault of her son. Photo courtesy Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office

“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 of her daughter,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

“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,” Gonzalez said on Wednesday.

Li was sentenced by New York State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Dowling.


The killing took place on March 13, 2016, at approximately 8:50 p.m., in an apartment on 47th Street in Sunset Park, according to the trial testimony. Li took her daughter into the bathroom to punish her. She placed little 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 the trial.

The defendant called 911 after submerging her daughter, who was found to be unconscious and unresponsive by EMS. The child was taken to Maimonides Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 9:20 p.m.

The New York City medical examiner determined that Melody had multiple bruises and contusions that were consistent with her being held underwater and drowned.

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


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