Fairborn woman pleads no contest to felonies in case of malnourished 3-year-old girl

A Fairborn mother whose 3-year-old daughter was found severely malnourished in a bug-infested apartment faces up to a dozen years in prison after she pleaded no contest to two felony charges.

Rabyah Muballigh, 26, faces eight to 12 years in prison when she is sentenced July 24 in Greene County Common Pleas Court after she entered her no contest pleas Thursday to felonious assault and endangering children in Judge Adolfo Tornichio’s courtroom.

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.

Muballigh’s attorney said he needed to consult his client before making a statement, and the Greene County Prosecutor has not responded to a request for comment.

Muballigh signed the no contest plea document, which stipulated that “I understand that the State of Ohio is expressly reserving the right and ability to prosecute me for homicide-related offenses in the future, in the event the victim ultimately dies.”

Credit: Greene County Jail

Credit: Greene County Jail

Fairborn police were dispatched around 12:50 p.m. on 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. Police later identified her as Muballigh based on the cellphone number used during the calls, according to court records.

The caller gave the dispatcher a different name. She said the child was between 2 and 3 years old.

When police arrived, no one answered the door but it was unlocked. Concerned for the child, police entered the apartment, according to a statement from the Fairborn Police Department.

“Inside they located a small child that was conscious but not alert and was immediately taken by Fairborn medics and transported to a local hospital,” the statement read.

The child was on her back 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. She was suffering from numerous insect bites and “many other medical complications brought about by her mother, Muballigh,” said Greene County Prosecutor David Hayes in a statement released Monday.

“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,” he said.

A healthy weight range for a 3-year-old is between 26 and 38 pounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

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. A decaying mouse was on the living room couch cushion, according to documents.

The apartment ultimately was condemned by the city.

Muballigh reportedly told police she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and was unable to properly care for her daughter or the apartment because she sleeps all day, the affidavit stated.

The girl remained in the hospital for several weeks before she was eventually discharged to continue her care and recovery, the prosecutor said.

“My office will be asking Judge Tornichio to impose the maximum sentence in this case,” Hayes said. “In addition, this investigation continues, so that we may determine if anyone else bears criminal responsibility for this child’s condition.”

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