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Mother Testifies At Trial Of Man Accused Of Suffocating 7-Year-Old Daughter In Westchester

Gabrielle White with her mother, Michelle Hord-White. Photo Credit: noambramson.com
Neil White. Photo Credit: Westchester County District Attorney's Office

The mother of a 7-year-old girl who was allegedly murdered by her father appeared in court to recount the day her daughter died and provide additional info.

A grand jury indicted Neil White for second-degree murder after the 47-year-old was charged in June 2017 for his role in the death of his daughter Gabrielle, who was a student at Ward Elementary School in New Rochelle.

At approximately 3:20 p.m. on June 6, 2017, police received an emergency call from 3 Arbor Glen in New Rochelle when Gabrielle’s babysitter went to the home to check on the girl following an uneasy text message exchange with White, New Rochelle Police Capt. Robert Gazzola said following the girl’s death. Upon arrival at the scene, the babysitter found White bleeding with wounds to his wrists and Gabrielle in her bed, prompting her to call the police.

Paramedics said that Gabrielle was unresponsive, lying in bed when they arrived. White was taken to Montefiore Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. He was later taken into custody and was arraigned in New Rochelle City Court on murder charges.

An autopsy performed by the Westchester County Medical Examiner's Office determined that the cause of death was asphyxia by suffocation.

On Monday, June 17, Michelle Hord, Gabrielle’s mother, was in court to describe the day her daughter died and other incidents involving her and White.

According to the Journal News, Hord testified that there had been multiple calls to police in the month’s leading up to Gabrielle’s death, as the two went through divorce proceedings. Hord eventually moved out to a separate New Rochelle home and White allegedly threw an iced coffee in her face when the two met in public to discuss the divorce.

On the day of Gabrielle’s death, Hord reportedly sent her daughter a message telling her she loved her hours before she was found dead.

White and Hord-White had shared custody of Gabrielle, and at the time of the 7-year-old’s death, they resided in separate homes. Police said that Hord-White was at work at the time of the incident and that Gabrielle did not attend school as regularly scheduled on the day of her death.

“This hurts our community, and it hurts us all deeply as it relates to children,” Gazzola said at the time of White’s arrest. The entire New Rochelle community is saddened by this event and asks that everyone respects the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

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