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Grandmother Charged With Smothering Toddler

MAHANOY CITY — A grandmother is locked up in Schuylkill County, accused of killing her own granddaughter. Mahanoy City police say Pietrina Hoffman, 52, sm...

MAHANOY CITY -- A grandmother is locked up in Schuylkill County, accused of killing her own granddaughter.

Mahanoy City police say Pietrina Hoffman, 52, smothered the 14 month old, who was in her care at the time.

“I didn't do nothing, I don't know, I don't remember, can we just go?”

Hoffman claimed to have no recollection of what lead to the death of her granddaughter, who died while in Hoffman's care.

Mahanoy City police say 14-month-old Nevaeh Doyle was found dead inside Hoffman's home on West Centre Street in the borough the afternoon of January 10.

Now, police have charged Hoffman with homicide, accusing her of smothering the toddler.

“I don't see how a person could kill their own child because that's just wrong. How can you do that?” said Michael Governale.

Police say Hoffman had both of her granddaughters in her care, Nevaeh and a 2-year-old girl, the night before Nevaeh's death.

Hoffman told police she took cold medicine and sleeping pills before blacking out on the sofa.

When she came to the next afternoon, Nevaeh was dead on the floor.

“It's just awful, it's baby, they barely had a chance to live and now they lost that chance,” said Robyn Ball.

The two year old was taken away by Children and Youth. Police say that child showed early signs of starvation.

According to court paperwork, Hoffman told investigators numerous confusing and conflicting stories about what happened in her house, saying she didn't remember much.

She was arrested after failing a state police polygraph.

“Every time I see on the news that children die, all the time, it's senseless, it's senseless because they're not being taken care of the way they need to be taken care of,” said Sue Schaefer.

Hoffman was denied bail and was taken to the Schuylkill County Prison.