A New York father is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly suffocating the 7-year-old daughter he shares with an NBC executive, PEOPLE confirms.
Neil White, 47, of New Rochelle, was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the death of his daughter Gabrielle, a New Rochelle police spokeswoman tells PEOPLE. Police said they believe the little girl was asphyxiated, the spokeswoman says.
The girl was found dead in White’s Westchester County home by a nanny who came looking for the girl after White allegedly told her Gabrielle was home sick from school, the babysitter, Tonelle Mahon, told WLS-TV.
Mahon told the station that when she arrived at the Arbor Glen home, the home was dark with the shades closed.
“I went upstairs and I kept calling, ‘Neil? Gabrielle?’ ” Mahon said. “I just was like, ‘Neil?’ and that’s when he came out … ‘Where is Gabrielle?’ [He said] ‘Oh, she’s in her room resting.’ “
Mahon said she saw blood on White’s wrist and immediately left the home to call the police and Gabrielle’s mother.
White pleaded not guilty to the charge and is being held without bail, WLS reports. He is expected to appear in court on June 15.
White’s public defender, Harvey Loeb, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
Gabrielle’s mother is Michelle Hord-White, an NBC Universal Inc. talent acquisition vice president, The Journal News reports.
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She filed for divorce from White in April, the Journal reports, citing court records. The pair shared custody of the little girl.
In a statement, the family said Gabrielle “was our light” adding, “no words could sum up all that Gabrielle meant to us”
“We are broken and devastated that our sweet little girl is gone but we’re thankful that we had seven wonderful years with her,” the statement read, according to ABC News.
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson spoke out about the death, calling it “an incomprehensible tragedy.”
“This is devastating news that we will long struggle to comprehend,” he said in a statement.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the girl’s family.