California PhD Candidate Charged with Murder After Babysitting Tragedy

California PhD Candidate Charged with Murder After Babysitting Tragedy

Nicole Virzi, a PhD candidate, faces murder charges after the death of an infant she was babysitting in Pittsburgh. Learn about the case and upcoming court proceedings.

California, Bollywood Fever: A California PhD candidate, Nicole Virzi, has been charged with the murder of six-and-a-half-week-old Leon Katz, whom she was babysitting in Pittsburgh. This tragic incident occurred shortly after the parents rushed Leon’s twin brother to the hospital with an injury allegedly sustained under her care.

Virzi, 29, is accused of causing a skull fracture and several brain bleeds to Leon, as detected by a CT scan, according to Pittsburgh’s WTAE. Despite these allegations, Virzi has denied any wrongdoing, and her lawyer, David Shrager, insists on her innocence. “Our client denies these allegations. She is a loving person and a friend to these people and would never harm anyone’s child, let alone theirs,” Shrager told the outlet.

On the day of the incident, Virzi was babysitting the twins while their parents were at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with Leon’s twin, after Virzi reported an injury on his groin area. Virzi claimed that she had gone to the kitchen to get a bottle when she heard screaming. She stated that upon returning, she found the baby had fallen out of his bouncer and immediately called 911.

California PhD Candidate Charged with Murder After Babysitting Tragedy

However, a doctor informed investigators that the injuries sustained by both twins were consistent with child abuse, describing them as inflicted and not accidental. As a result, Virzi faces charges of homicide, aggravated assault, and endangering the welfare of children. She is currently being held without bail at the Allegheny County Jail and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on June 28.

Virzi is a fifth-year clinical psychology candidate in the SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program, according to her LinkedIn profile. “She’s going to be 30 years old. She’s a PhD student. She is long-term friends with the family in this situation,” Shrager said. “As I’ve said, it doesn’t show any criminal history in her background and we’re anxious to get our day in court.”

Shrager also mentioned that they are exploring the possibility of changing the bond situation, as Virzi is currently charged with a general count of homicide, which typically does not allow for bail.

The tragic case has shocked the community and raised questions about the circumstances leading to the injuries of the infant twins. The upcoming court proceedings are expected to shed more light on the incident.

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