Westminster, CA

Khadiyjah Pendergraph: Charged after allegedly drowning disabled daughter in bathtub

Lavinia Thompson

A woman from California has been arrested and charged for the death of her disabled 9-year-old daughter, according to the Westminster Police Department (WPD).

WPD officers responded to a call on Nov. 24, 2023 from a concerned family member requesting a welfare check on the mother and daughter residing at a home on the 14100 block of Goldenwest Street, a WPD statement says.

The girl’s father called police after claiming to receive concerning messages from his ex-wife regarding their daughter, Fox says. The District Attorney’s office stated that he tried picking up his daughter on Thanksgiving, but was met with a locked door no one answered.

Upon arriving, police forced entry into the apartment and discovered the decomposing body of 9-year-old Victoria Pendergraph in the bathtub, the statement says. No one else was in the apartment.

Fox notes that Victoria was wheelchair-bound and non-verbal.

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“While families across America sat down to Thanksgiving dinner with their loved ones, this little disabled girl’s lifeless body was left to rot in a bathtub after being drowned by her own mother,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.

“Words simply do not exist to express the utter heartbreak knowing this little girl could not even scream for help as her mother pushed her underwater and cut her life so tragically and so unnecessarily short,” he added.

The mother, Khadiyjah Pendergraph, became a person of interest as homicide detectives took over the case, the WPD statement says. Pendergraph was later found and arrested at a shopping mall in Aliso Viejo, then booked into the Orange County Jail on murder charges.

Khadiyjah allegedly told police she had attempted to take her own life within days of her daughter’s death, Fox says.

The WPD add that no other suspects are sought at this time, and it appears to have been an isolated incident.

“While police officers are exposed to tragedies on a daily basis, this murder is particularly disturbing due to the senseless loss of a child allegedly at the hands of her own mother. The members of the WPD grieve with the victim’s family and extend our deepest condolences,” said Darin Lenyi, the Westminster Chief of Police.

WPD detectives urge anyone with information about this case to contact Detective Marcela Lopez at 714-548-3773 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS or by logging on to www.occrimestoppers.org. Those who offer tips can remain anonymous.

If convicted, Khadiyjah faces 25 years in prison, Fox notes.


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Long time true crime lover and blogger who has spent years reading and studying criminal psychology. I also write mystery fiction books, and have a diploma in journalism.

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