The death of a 2-year-old girl who was discovered unconscious in a Manhattan homeless shelter in June 2021 has been ruled a homicide, the Police Department said on Friday.
Mariya Huebler’s cause of death was “acute methadone intoxication,” according to Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office. The agency made the determination in May, and an investigation is continuing; no one has been charged with a crime. It was unclear why police authorities announced the finding on Friday.
“The tragic death of Mariya Huebler continues to be mourned by all at Help USA,” said Stephen Mott, the chief strategy officer for the organization that oversees the Harlem shelter where the child was found. “We are cooperating fully in the investigation and remain committed to the well-being of all in our care.”
Methadone, which is used to quell cravings for opioids, is not offered at any of the group’s sites in New York, Mr. Mott said.
In June of last year, the police answered a 911 call reporting an unconscious child at 30 Hamilton Place. When officers arrived, they found the 2-year-old girl, who bore no signs of trauma. She was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Jedidah Bailey, her mother, wrote about Mariya in a GoFundMe post seeking money for a funeral last year. She said that her daughter was “loved by many and touched so many people in such a short time she’s been on this earth.”
Ms. Bailey added that anyone “who knew me knew how much I loved my daughter,” and knew “how much of a hands on mother I was to Mariya.”
Greg Huebler, her father, addressed his daughter directly in a Facebook post shortly after she died: “Daddy loves you more than any words could ever express, and I will miss you beyond the understanding of anyone in this world.”
Neither parent could be reached for comment on Friday.
Several very young children have died in New York City this year in cases that prompted criminal charges. In June, a woman was arrested and charged in the murder of her 7-year-old daughter, Julissia Batties. The deaths of three children found unconscious along the Brooklyn shoreline were declared homicides in September; their mother was charged with murder. A 3-year-old boy was found bruised and fatally beaten in a homeless shelter in Queens in November.
After Mariya’s death, Help USA officials offered emergency assistance, including counseling, to residents, case workers and other staff at the homeless shelter, Mr. Mott said. That assistance was deployed at the time of death, and again after Friday’s news.
The shelter, which is funded by the city’s Department of Homeless Services, offers individual apartments for families that include a kitchenette, a bathroom and other amenities.
Chelsia Rose Marcius contributed reporting. Susan Beachy contributed research.