Arce’s lawyer claims client suffered postpartum depression

Posted: Updated:

The attorney for the Mamaroneck mother who's toddler died following an altercation says his client suffered from postpartum depression.

The announcement comes a day after autopsy results ruled 2-year-old Gabriella Arce's death as a homicide.

In April, the toddler died following an altercation between her mother, Cynthia, and Mamaroneck police officers. The incident happened at the Arces' home on Chestnut Avenue.

MORE: Toddler's death ruled homicide

According to officials, the mother allegedly attacked two police officers with a knife when they tried to revive Gabriella. Arce is facing charges of attempted murder of a police officer.

Richard Portale, Arce's lawyer, says she suffered a psychotic break at the time of her daughter's death. He says his client's depression will be used as defense in her criminal case.

"She'll never be free of course of this tragedy, but we believe treatment and observation is appropriate here, not jail," he says. "She struggling, emotionally, mentally – she's struggling."

Portale also claims the attempt by the girl's father to get custody could have triggered a psychotic break.

RELATED: Mamaroneck father sues after death of daughter

Scarsdale Psychologist, Dr. Harris Stratyner, says the severity of postpartum depression varies and can trigger violent behavior if left untreated.

"If somebody has postpartum depression, they can get to the point where they no longer want to care for their child and in extreme cases and really extreme, they might harm the child," he says.

The Westchester District Attorney's Office says prosecutors will present the autopsy to a grand jury in the mother's criminal case.

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