Fargo woman gets 30 years in prison for brutal killing of toddler

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 11:30 AM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A Fargo woman is set to spend the next three decades in prison for killing a family-friend’s toddler late last year.

A Cass County judge sentenced 38-year-old Brandi Adeleke early Monday morning after she pleaded guilty to both murder and child abuse this fall for the brutal death of 15-month-old Meka.

“I don’t understand how you can take the life of an innocent child and what she could have done so badly that made you hurt her,” Meka’s aunt, Amanda Carrillo said in court Monday. “I feel pain every time I walk through my door because there’s something missing. I feel pain every time I hear my kids laugh because there’s a little laughter missing.”

A friend of the Carrillo family for over five years, Adeleke was having a sleepover with Meka at her south Fargo apartment last November when Adeleke’s defense attorney says ‘it was just too much for her and rather than to reach out and seek help, she made a tragic mistake. The results are catastrophic.’

When Meka was admitted to the hospital, doctors and investigators found blunt force trauma up and down her body. The details are so gruesome Cass County State’s Attorney Ryan Younggren declined to go over them to the courtroom Monday morning, and has advised the family not to either.

In a letter to the court penned by Meka’s grandmother, Cindy, and read to the court by Younggren, Cindy detailed the immense heartache felt by the family for the last 13 months—Words that choked up even the seasoned prosecutor.

“Meka’s three-year-old sister asks, ‘When Meka wakes up and gets bigger, will she play with me?’ How do you explain that to a three-year-old?” Younggren read to the court. “I would not wish this on anyone, not even you, Brandi.”

“I’m sorry to the family. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen and I’m just, I’m sorry,” Adeleke sobbed to the court.

Adeleke’s sentence comes directly from the wishes of Meka’s father, Manny Carrillo who both prosecutors and family members say was adamant he did not want his daughter’s killer to spend the rest of her life in prison.

“He forgives her, but he will never forget. He was like, ‘Me giving her a life sentence isn’t going to bring my daughter back,’” Carrillo said of her brother.

Carrillo says her family will never be the same. She says while she’s glad Adeleke finally took responsibility, justice will never fully be served without Meka here in the world.

Adeleke will be eligible for her five years of supervised probation in 2045.

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