Turn to Tara: Grieving Gabby one year after toddler's death

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MAMARONECK -

The father of Gabriella Boyd spoke with News 12’s Tara Rosenblum about his quest for justice – one year after the death of his 2-year-old daughter.

The deadly chain of events began on April 27, 2018 after a family court judge issued an order that granted Stephen Boyd custody of his daughter. The toddler had been living with her troubled mother along Chestnut Avenue in Mamaroneck.

When village police officers tried to execute that order hours later, Cynthia Arce slammed the door on them. They left and didn’t come back –until they received a 911 call the next day. That's when they discovered Gabby dying in her bed next to a handwritten note that said she would be joining the angels.

Boyd remembered his daughter as a “ball of energy.”

“I definitely had a soft spot for her and spoiled the heck out of her,” he told News 12.

Rosa Montilla says she has yet to come to grips with the loss of her stepdaughter.

“It’s hard every day…It’s a nightmare you can't seem to wake up from,” she said. “My family hadn't grieved yet…We won’t get that until Gabriella gets justice.”

Arce also tried to kill herself, but failed. She was shot by police who claim she lunged at them with a knife as they tried to save her daughter.

Her attorney Richard Portale is now laying the groundwork for a psychiatric defense, and revealed to News 12 that his client was treated at a mental hospital one month before the incident.

“This is a very sad case of a broken system mental health system,” said Portale. “I think Gabriella is the victim of a broken mental health system, as are both her parents.”

Portale was also critical of a state report into Gabby's death released just last week because it did not list any recommendations for policy changes. He had hoped it would shine a light on the issue of post-partum depression and psychosis.

Portale would not directly say Gabby died at the hands of his client. Instead, he speculated that Arce suffered a mental breakdown after the officers showed up at her front door the night before.

The next morning, Boyd claims he called police pleading with them to return, but he was told it was a civil matter.

Boyd now has an attorney who intends to sue the village, police and county for negligence as the district attorney's office forges forward with a criminal case.

Boyd and Montilla are now seeking solace in the Gabriella Boyd Memorial Foundation they have established. They say they are lobbying for more police training when it comes to custody situations and will march in Washington next month to spread awareness.

Cynthia Arce is facing seven charges, including murder. Police and county leaders told News 12 that ongoing litigation prevented them from making any comments about the case.

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