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Family friend gets 30 years in prison for brutal killing of toddler

Brandi Adeleke pleaded guilty to both murder and child abuse for the brutal death of...
Brandi Adeleke pleaded guilty to both murder and child abuse for the brutal death of 15-month-old Meka.(KVYL)
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 7:02 AM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (KVLY/Gray News) – A woman in North Dakota will spend the next three decades in prison for killing a family friend’s toddler in late 2020.

According to KVLY, 38-year-old Brandi Adeleke pleaded guilty to both murder and child abuse 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 had asked to have a sleepover last November at her south Fargo apartment, which Carillo said she OK’d.

Adeleke’s defense attorney said it was “just too much for her,” and instead of reaching out for help, “she made a tragic mistake.”

When Meka was admitted to the hospital, doctors and investigators found blunt force trauma up and down her body.

The details were so gruesome that Cass County State’s Attorney Ryan Younggren declined to go over them in the courtroom Monday morning and 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 the seasoned prosecutor.

“Meka’s 3-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.

“I will forgive her, but I will never forget what she’s done,” Manny Carillo said. “Me giving her a life sentence isn’t going to bring my daughter back.”

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