Crime

Autopsy: Raleigh toddler may have died when her fighting parents landed on top of her

Elhadji Diop first court appearance

VIDEO: Elhadji Seydou Diop, 53, makes his first court appearance in Wake County Superior court on first degree murder charges Thursday, April 14, 2016 in the April 6, 2016 deaths of his wife Aminata Drame, 40, and their daughter Fatim Diop. Diop's
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VIDEO: Elhadji Seydou Diop, 53, makes his first court appearance in Wake County Superior court on first degree murder charges Thursday, April 14, 2016 in the April 6, 2016 deaths of his wife Aminata Drame, 40, and their daughter Fatim Diop. Diop's

Police have charged Elhadji Seydou Diop with strangling to death his 40-year-old wife and their 2-year-old daughter in their West Raleigh townhouse in April.

But an autopsy report made public this week says medical examiners could not determine whether Diop, 53, actually strangled his daughter, Fatim Diop. It’s possible, the report said, that she was smothered when her fighting parents landed on top of her hours before she and her mother, Aminata Drame, were found dead at their home on April 5.

“According to information received, Fatim Diop, a 2-year-old girl, was present during a physical altercation between two adults when they landed on top of her on 4/5/2016 around noon,” the report says. “Afterward, she was reportedly not breathing, but Emergency Medical Services were not called.”

Later that afternoon, a relative had asked police to check on the family, and Drame and her daughter were found unresponsive. “Death was pronounced at the scene without resuscitation attempts,” the autopsy report says.

Police say Diop tried to take his own life by cutting himself and ingesting “toxic substances” after he killed his wife and daughter inside their townhouse at 5943 Farm Gate Road.

Officers went to the Diop home after Diop’s niece, who lives in Dakar, Senegal, saw photos of an already dead Drame and Fatim that he had apparently posted on his Facebook page.

“Look what god did 2. Me.,” investigators think Diop posted on his Facebook page at 2:41 p.m. that day. “A beautiful family. all gone.”

According to the Senegalese online newspaper DakarFLASH.com, Diop had also written on his Facebook page, “They just died, and I will be next. Who will stop me?”

It appeared that Diop had positioned his wife and daughter before taking the pictures he posted on Facebook. Mother and child were lying face up, with Fatim resting on her mother’s right arm and turned so that it appears she’s looking up into the face of her mother.

Diop’s niece saw the Facebook postings and called her husband, who lives in New York City, according to a 911 recording made public shortly after the victims were found.

The husband called 911 in New York, and a dispatcher there contacted Wake County’s 911 center.

Neighbors in the townhome complex on Farm Gate Road said the couple had been living in the neighborhood for about two months. DakarFLASH.com reported that Drame had found work at a post office and was looking forward to enrolling in school.

Investigators charged Diop with two counts of first-degree murder. He remains in Central Prison on Western Boulevard, where he is being held for safekeeping, a spokesman at the Wake County jail reported Wednesday.

Thomasi McDonald: 919-829-4533, @tmcdona75589225

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