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Voodoo mom gets 17 years

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The Queens Village mother who set her then-6-year-old daughter on fire during a voodoo ritual performed in their home was sentenced to 17 years in prison Monday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Marie Lauradin, 31, of 219th Street in Queens Village, pleaded guilty last month to one count of first-degree assault before Queens Supreme Court Judge Richard Buchter, who sentenced her to a prison term of 17 years Monday.

“During the performance of a voodoo ritual, the child’s mother intentionally poured an accelerant over her young daughter’s body and caused her to be engulfed in flames,” Brown said in a statement. “Despite the child’s cries for help and the severity of her injuries, she failed to seek immediate medical attention. The lengthy sentence handed down by the court is a reflection of the seriousness of this matter.”

The child is now in foster care.

Her grandmother, 72-year-old Sylvenie Thessier, who was also charged in the case, pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment earlier this year before Buchter and was sentenced to a year in jail for failing to take the child to a hospital right away, Brown said.

Frantzcia Saintil, then 6, was admitted to the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital Feb. 6, 2009, with second- and third-degree burns covering 25 percent of her body, including her face, torso and legs, Brown said.

As part of her treatment, Frantzcia was placed in a medically induced coma and hooked up to a respirator, the DA said.

At the time, Lauradin told police that in the early afternoon of Feb. 4, 2009, she was in the kitchen preparing rice on the stove and that she was transferring the pot from a front burner to a back one when Frantzcia approached her from behind and hit her hand, causing her to spill the pot of boiling water on the child, Brown said.

After Frantzcia was released from the hospital, however, Frantzcia was placed in foster care and she eventually told her foster family a different account of what occurred, the DA said.

According to the charges, Frantzcia was at home Feb. 4, 2009, with her mother and grandmother when her mother’s voodoo practice known as “Loa” was conducted and her mother poured an accelerant on her head and in a circle on the floor, Brown said.

Lauradin then set the circle on fire and placed her daughter, who was naked, inside the ring of fire, at which point the accelerant on her body ignited and flames engulfed her, the DA said.

Although Thessier was present in the room during the ritual, she did not intervene, even after Frantzcia cried out for help, Brown said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 10:50 am, October 12, 2011
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