Family of dead baby grieves at Elmhurst candlelight vigil

By Alex Robinson

Relatives held a candlelight vigil Sunday for an 11-month-old boy, who police said was allegedly murdered by his mother at her Elmhurst apartment.

Nicole Kelly, 22, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on charges of suffocating Kiam Felix Jr. last Sunday, authorities said.

“I’m not angry, I just don’t know how to feel. It’s like a feeling of numbness,” Sonny Southerland, the boy’s grandfather, told reporters in front of Kelly’s apartment on 52nd Street. “He was so wonderful.”

A small crowd of tearful family members, all wearing white, gathered there to light candles and remember the child.

The day Kiam died, Kelly allegedly told responding authorities she had wrapped a sheet around the child’s face and watched him struggle to breath before leaving him for half an hour, police said.

The mother then took a shower and returned to find the boy blue and unresponsive, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Queens district attorney’s office.

She then called Kiam’s father several hours later and told him the boy had stopped breathing, the complaint said.

The two then rushed the boy to Elmhurst General Hospital, where doctors worked on him for at least 25 minutes, but by that time it was too late.

“I reached my breaking point, I didn’t want him anymore,” she allegedly told police, according to the DA’s office.

Kelly’s sister, Tanisha Gordon, said she had absolutely no indication that something like this would happen.

“She’s not a monster. She was a good sister, a good mother. She took care of him. He was a happy, healthy baby,” she said. “I know she was a good mother and this wasn’t something that was premeditated. She was a good mom.”

The family has not set a date for the boy’s funeral but asked for donations be made to a scholarship that has been set up in his memory.

“We’re trying to keep it together. Kiam is struggling and we’re all struggling,” Southerland said.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.