A grandmother was charged with murder Tuesday after she threw her 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter off a fifth-floor walkway at the busy Tysons Corner Center on Monday night, police said Tuesday.
Angelyn Ogdoc of the 1800 block of Griffith Road in Falls Church was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital in critical condition after plunging 50 feet or more to the pavement, police said. The hospital notified detectives about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday that Angelyn had died.
Asked whether the death could have been accidental, Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Officer Tawny Wright said "our detectives looked at that and determined the act was intentional."
Carmela Dela Rosa, 50, initially was charged with aggravated malicious wounding, but the charges were upgraded early Tuesday afternoon. She is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, police said.
Police offered no information about what could have prompted Dela Rosa, described by neighbors as a loving and warm caregiver to Angelyn, to cause her granddaughter harm. No one answered the door at either Dela Rosa's home or Angelyn's Tuesday, and neighbors said they were shocked and mystified by the grim allegations.
Russell Jackson, who lives next door to Dela Rosa, said Angelyn's mother would drop her off at Dela Rosa's house three to four times a week for babysitting.
He said Angelyn was a beautiful little girl with long, dark hair.
"When I saw the baby she would wave and throw me a kiss," he said.
He frequently saw Dela Rosa and the child smiling and having fun.
"She always had her little granddaughter in her arms," Jackson said. "The baby was always happy. She seemed like she loved that baby."
He said Dela Rosa has a teenage son who attends a local private school.
"She had her son in a good school," he said. "They are good people.
He said the family had lived in the house for a number of years, and Dela Rosa was the friendly person on the block who put together neighborhood barbecues and brought food to neighbors when they shoveled snow in last winter's storms.
About an hour before Dela Rosa allegedly threw the girl over the railing, Jackson's son, Russell Jackson Jr., saw the family get into their car.
Angelyn's grandfather buckled her into a car seat, and Angelyn left with her mother and her grandparents, he said.
No one answered the door Tuesday morning at the Dela Rosa home in the 3100 block of Ellenwood Drive.
Police said Dela Rosa, Angelyn and other family members were walking from the shopping mall to the parking garage on the elevated walkway Monday night when, "for an unknown reason," Dela Rosa allegedly picked up the child and threw her over the guardrail. Dela Rosa and the girl's other relatives remained at the site while police were summoned.
The walkway connects the fifth above-ground level of the parking garage with the shopping mall. Below it is a two-lane access road and asphalt sidewalks. The safety railing appears to be above waist-level on an average-height adult.
Nobody answered the door Tuesday morning at the Falls Church home where police say Angelyn lived with her mother. It is a newly built, two-story white house with a fence and a manicured lawn. A child's seat and toys sit on the back porch.
Neighbors say the family slowly built the house over the past year.
Neighbor Mark Bailey said he would see Angelyn playing in front of the Falls Church home and she trick-or-treated at his house on Halloween dressed as a princess.
"Beautiful little girl," Bailey said.
Another neighbor, Joan Naleppa, said Angelyn's paternal grandparents own the Falls Church home. They renovated the house when Angelyn was born and made an upstairs apartment for Angelyn and her parents to live, Naleppa said.
Naleppa said the couple previously had lived with Dela Rosa.
She added that the paternal grandparents "just loved that baby."
"How could this happen?" She wondered. "What's this world coming to?"