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Salamanca mother charged in death of 1-year-old daughter

A Salamanca mother was arrested Tuesday afternoon and accused of causing the death of her 1-year-old daughter.

Leslie A. Finch, 24, of North Authority Road, Kill Buck, was charged with second-degree manslaughter, first-degree reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the April 26 death of Mila M. Wipple.

Following Finch’s arraignment before City Court Judge William J. Gabler, she was remanded to Cattaraugus County Jail in Little Valley in lieu of $100,000 cash bail or a $200,000 bail bond.

Police Chief Troy Westfall said Finch’s arrest came after 26 days of round-the-clock investigation by his department, the county Sheriff’s Office, county Child Protective Services and the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Finch, who was arrested without incident, faces a preliminary hearing Friday before Gabler, authorities said.

Shortly after noon April 24, a Salamanca Fire Department unit was sent to 191 Broad St. after a call was placed about a 1-year-old girl who was not breathing.

The infant was quickly taken to Olean General Hospital by a Fire Department emergency crew and then taken by Mercy Flight helicopter to Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.

After an initial medical examination, the staff at the Buffalo hospital told Salamanca police that the severe injuries they found on the baby were caused by abuse and would likely have caused her death, according to the police chief.

The baby was pronounced dead at 9:31 a.m. April 26.

Westfall would not disclose the evidence that led to Finch’s arrest Tuesday.