Local News

Autopsy: Fighting parents might have fallen on, smothered Raleigh toddler

Posted July 14, 2016 3:06 p.m. EDT

Elhadji Diop

— A Raleigh man is charged with killing his wife and their 2-year-old daughter in April, but an autopsy report released Wednesday suggests that the girl's death might have been an accident.

Elhadji Diop, 53, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the April 5 deaths of Aminata Drame, 40, and Fatim Diop, whose bodies were found in a home in the 5900 block of Farm Gate Road.

An autopsy determined that Aminata Drame had been strangled, but a medical examiner stated that Fatim Diop might have suffocated when her parents fell on top of her as they fought.

The girl's injuries "may have occurred from mechanical asphyxia from being under fighting adults, but other forms of inflicted asphyxia (strangulation, smothering) cannot be excluded," the autopsy report states. "Therefore, based on the autopsy findings and circumstances surrounding the death, as currently understood, the cause of death is listed as asphyxia occurring during altercation between adults."

Police found the bodies after a concerned relative living in Senegal saw a Facebook post by Elhadji Diop showing a picture of the two dead bodies and a statement that he planned to kill himself. The relative contacted another family member in New York, and the message was eventually relayed to Raleigh police. Officers found Elhadji Diop with several self-inflicted cuts, and authorities said he also had ingested toxic substances in a failed suicide attempt.