Mother and boyfriend guilty of killing 4-year old
The case of four-year old toddler Aniya Day-Garrett was a violent gut punch to the community and our nation more than a year ago, and even after her mother and the mother’s boyfriend was convicted on March 7 of aggravated murder and several other charges, the pain of losing an innocent child still stings.
The child’s mother Sierra Day, 24, and her boyfriend Deonte Lewis, 27, was found guilty of abusing, neglecting and murdering the Aniya who died at the hospital after being abused at the Cultural Gardens Apartments in Euclid where the mother and boyfriend resided with the child.
This week was the one year anniversary of the heartbreaking murder and community groups have been relentless in advocating for justice, protesting at the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for not removing the child from her mother’s custody.
"We are protesting today, the anniversary of Aniya's death of March 11, 2018, in response to neglect and malfeasance by county officials and Jobs and Family services," said activist Alfred Porter Jr., who leads Black on Black Crime Inc., an organizing group for the protest along with Fathers Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter Cleveland, among others. Cleveland Urban News reported.
The fate of both Day and Lewis will be revealed at sentencing on March 21 before Common Pleas Judge Timothy McCormick.
The murder trial was just the first step in obtaining justice for Aniya, according to published statements from the family attorney, the case revealed the delinquency of the DCFS.
The much criticized DCFS social worker Lorra Greene reportedly testified that Day was a good mother at first, but lost her way after she began dating Lewis.
However, Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Anna Faraglia praised the jury verdict and chastised Day as a "master manipulator."
After several repeated reports of abuse by daycare workers by the child’s father Mickhal Garrett and other family members, the DCFS failed to intervene for the child’s safety. Additionally, the lawyer stated there was a lack of follow-up and communication by the DCFS that could have saved Aniya’s life.
Following Aniya’s murder, and a scathing review of the DCFS by the State of Ohio that detailed it had failed the child, the DCFS has since beefed up its department with more case workers, instituted additional training and established better relationships with law enforcement and mandated a staff performance review process.
In the meanwhile, The Justice for Aniya Foundation held a memorial vigil on the anniversary of her death to remind the community and the nation of a senseless tragedy of the cute, bubbly child whose life ended way too soon.
The child’s father had reportedly fought for custody of his daughter prior to her death was among the leaders at the memorial.
Garrett led the memorial at the Cultural Gardens Apartments in Euclid, where the child and the mother and boyfriend resided.
It was at that location Police and paramedics responded to the apartments March 11, 2018, and Aniya later died at an area hospital. Investigators said she suffered several blows to the head and died of a stroke.
Another memorial honoring Aniya is scheduled for the same location on June 21, at which time a butterfly release will take place.