Fairborn mother of malnourished 3-year-old admits she ‘failed her motherly duty of care’

The Fairborn mother of a 3-year-old girl found severely malnourished in a bug-infested apartment accepts responsibility for what happened and is grateful to the police, medical professionals and case workers for their work, care and assistance with her daughter, attorney Lucas Wilder said.

His client, 26-year-old Rabyah Muballigh, pleaded no contest last week in Greene County Common Pleas Court to felonious assault and endangering children, also a felony charge. She faces eight to 12 years in prison when she is sentenced July 24.

A plea of no contest is not an admission of guilt, but is an admission of the truth of the facts alleged in the indictment, according to court documents.

Wilder said that Muballigh admits she “failed her motherly duty of care for Aurora.”

“She never intentionally, or purposefully, did anything that would hurt Aurora. She has been remorseful for, and emotional about, her failure to all parties — the police, her attorney, (Greene County) Children Services — who have had contact with her since she called 911 to report her daughter’s condition,” he said. “While not an excuse for her inaction, Rabyah was suffering from extreme mental health issues at the time she failed her duties.”

Leading up the day she called 911 to report her daughter was having trouble breathing, Wilder said Muballigh delivered a stillborn boy, suffered from major depression and earlier had given up her older daughter to an adoptive family. She also did not have an ideal family circumstance and support, he said.

Credit: Greene County Jail

Credit: Greene County Jail

Fairborn police were dispatched around 12:50 p.m. Jan. 8 to the Fairborn Apartments on Wallace Drive near North Maple Avenue on a report that a young child was in distress and alone in the apartment.

Initially the caller hung up without saying anything, but a dispatcher called the number to ask whether there was an emergency.

“There’s a child at 308 Wallace that is currently having trouble breathing and she needs to go to a hospital as soon as possible,” said the woman who answered.

The caller gave the dispatcher a fake name but police later identified her as Muballigh based on the cellphone number used during the calls, according to court records.

The apartment door was unlocked and when police entered out of concern for the child, they found the girl conscious but not alert on the floor of a rear bedroom in the fetal position, gasping for air. She “appeared extremely malnourished and had obvious bug bites,” an affidavit filed in Fairborn Municipal Court stated.

She weighed 16 pounds and was in critical condition when she arrived at Dayton Children’s Hospital, where she was in the intensive-care unit.

“This is one of the worst cases of child abuse that I’ve seen in 20 years of prosecuting. This mother failed to meet her legal obligations, her moral obligations, and her God-given responsibility to care for her own little girl,” said Greene County Prosecutor David Hayes in a statement released Monday.

The young girl was found in a room with a soiled mattress that had a matted blanket sullied with feces. Throughout the room were numerous empty pediatric nutrition and protein drinks, according to documents.

“She did provide Aurora with food and protein drinks but she did not do enough as a mother,” her attorney said. “She struggles with her failures every day.”

Aurora has since been released from the hospital. Wilder said it is their understanding that the girl is doing much better and has been placed in the custody of her sister’s adoptive family.

“The plea paperwork associated with this case does refer to the state’s express reservation to pursue homicide charges if Aurora was to die, but our understanding is Aurora’s health condition is not close to that level,” he said.

Muballigh’s apartment was condemned by the city after police and medics responded, Fairborn police said.

Her attorney said there were bugs and mold present before she moved in. For a few years she attempted to get the issue resolved but was unsuccessful, he said.

About the Author