The Cuyahoga County Child Protective Services (CPS) social worker involved in the case of the four year old Aniya Garrett missed critical clues that could have prevented the child’s senses death.
Aniya was allegedly killed by her mother Sierra Day, 23, and her boyfriend, Deonte Lewis, 26.
Day and Lewis appeared in court March 19, where Judge Michael J. Russo appointed Attorney Mark B. Marein for Day and Lewis retained Attorney Nicole C. Longino. The couple remained in custody pending a million dollar bond and their cases will be forwarded to the Grand Jury on an undisclosed date.
A Euclid Police Department detailed the child’s physical abuse on May 19, 2017,but CPS failed to respond to the alarming details, according to the toddler’s family members.
The police report submitted by Euclid Officer Cory Screngi, who met with Day, the CPS social worker and Tamika Robinson an administrator for Harbor Crest Daycare and Euclid hospital social worker Jessica Jenkins, then forwarded his report to the Euclid detectives bureau.
“While speaking with Sierra, she told me that she (Aniya) told her that staff at daycare (he Lewis) hits her, but she didn’t take it seriously because Aniya lies…She (Sierra) refused to write a statement, she was too stressed out,” wrote Screngi.
Robinson, who owned the daycare for a year, reported the abuse she noticed and discovered the previous owner reported a dozen severe abuse incidents beginning in December 2015. Aniya told several officials Sierra abused her on more than eight reported occasions.
“Child cried most of the day… stated that mom and dad did it…staff noticed bruises on her every day….black eye….busted lip…mommy did it…Aniya constantly wants to be held and hugged. She constantly asks, ‘Am I being good?’ police report excerpts.
CPS pursued an investigation for six weeks, but did not find evidence to warrant home removal. A custody hearing was scheduled, March 12, the day following Aniya’s death.
On March 19 Aniya’s father, Mickhal Garrett was joined by approxmately 100 protesters including community activists, family members and siblings of children murdered by mothers, loudly banged on The Jane Hunter (CPS) Building, located at 40th and Euclid, with signs embellished in pink letters, Aniya’s favorite color.
“Justice for Aniya. No Justice No Peace. All Lives Matter. Stand up for Fathers, CPS Failed Aniya,” signs read.
“I will not be able to do it without you. We have to make a difference, now. I don’t want this to happen to any other child,” said Mickhal, who sought custody for years.