Anchorage woman accused of choking infant daughter to death with knit cap

Published: Jul. 29, 2016 at 3:24 PM AKDT
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Amigale, a 4-month-old girl, was crying last Friday morning. She wanted to be held. Instead, her mother, Nina Alexie, shoved a pink-and-blue knit hat all the way into the newborn's mouth.

When the mother removed the hat five minutes later, the child was gasping. Deafening silence filled the room a moment later.

That is the story state prosecutors say Alexie told Anchorage Police Department officers who arrested her after Amigale was found dead. The 22-year-old with a lengthy criminal record now faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

One key piece of evidence that led investigators to arrest the infant's mother is a letter she allegedly left behind for the girl's father after the killing.

"I cannot take what happened," she wrote in the two-page handwritten letter. "I've been holding her praying for her dear life to come back. She done (sic) didn't. I'm scared. I'm very terrified. I am hurting. I'm lost."

According to a document submitted by the state to Superior Court Judge Kevin Saxby, who was weighing bail conditions after a grand jury indicted Alexie, the infant's parents were fighting in the hours leading to her death. It got bad enough that the father left the unit the family occupied in the East Anchorage transitional living center, Safe Harbor Inn. The girl died while he was gone, police say.

He returned to find his girl cold and lifeless, and the letter hinting at what went wrong.

"The significance of this writing is that Alexie confirms that no other party was involved in Amigale's death," prosecutor Kevin Bergt wrote in the document submitted to the judge, which also says the letter is important because it establishes the time of death and that the journal entry was meant to be found by the girl's father.

Not long after emergency responders were notified of the death, homicide investigators started trying to contact the mother. They did not find her, but a patrol officer on an unrelated assignment did.

Bergt's bail memorandum claims that an officer spotted a car in the parking lot of Ruth Arcand Park in South Anchorage well after the posted closing hours.

"The officer contacted the occupants of the car and found a woman under circumstances that strongly suggested sexual conduct was afoot," the court document states. "Her male companion explained that he had picked up Alexie at a Downtown Anchorage bar, and they had been having consensual sex in the car at the city park."

The killing suspect was taken to Alaska Native Medical Center because she was drunk and combative, according to the document. When she sobered up the next day she allegedly admitted to the killing.

Alexie has an extensive criminal history, with more than a dozen convictions in the four years she has legally been an adult. Most involve alcohol abuse. The longest she has gone without ending up in jail was 84 days.

Now, she must come up with $250,000 bail in order to secure pre-trial release on the murder and manslaughter charges. A hearing is scheduled at 1:45 p.m. Monday in Anchorage Superior Court.

A similar incident that ended differently occurred at Safe Harbor Inn in 2014.

40-year-old Tracia Hetty Jordan-Sainte attempted to kill her son, who was 3 at the time. The boy survived, and Jordan-Sainte still awaits sentencing in that case.