An Ohio mother and her boyfriend appeared in court on Tuesday to face charges in the beating death of the woman’s four-year-old daughter, sparking a furious outburst from the child’s biological father.
Sierra Day, 23, and Deonte Lewis, 26, both from Euclid, have been charged with aggravated murder after the woman’s four-year-old daughter, Aniya Day-Garrett, suffered a fatal stroke that officials say was caused by repeated blows to the head.
A judge set the couple’s bonds at $1million each. As they were being led out of the courtroom, Mickhal Garrett jumped to his feet and screamed in anguish: ‘You killed my f***ing child! You hurt my baby.’
Palpable anguish: Mickhal Garrett is wailing and sobbing in court during a bond hearing for a couple accused of killing his four-year-old daughter
Couple charged: Sierra Day (left), 23, and Deonte Lewis (right), 26, have been charged with aggravated murder in the beating death of Day’s and Garrett’s daughter Aniya
Beaten to death: Aniya Day-Garrett died of a stroke on Sunday after being hit in the head
He then collapsed, sobbing, into the arms of family members who accompanied him to the bond hearing.
Police said paramedics were called to the Cultural Garden Apartments on Lakeshore Boulevard in Euclid at around 11.30am on Sunday for a report of a child with burn marks who was unresponsive. Fire officials said there was no fire at the complex.
Aniya was rushed to Euclid Hospital hospital, where she died of a stroke. Staff reported her death to police as a suspected homicide.
Legal battle: Garrett (pictured with Aniya) had been fighting to gain custody of his daughter. Last year, he repeatedly accused Day of neglecting the toddler (mom and girl seen right)
Crime scene: Paramedics were called to the Cultural Garden Apartments on Lakeshore Boulevard in Euclid, Ohio, on Sunday for a report of a child with burn marks
Cuffed: Day and Lewis were arrested after the hospital reported Aniya’s death as a possible homicide
A judge set Day and Lewis’s bonds at $1million each during an emotional bond hearing on Tuesday
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office later found that the toddler suffered blunt impacts to her head and also was malnourished, reported Fox8. Her manner of death was officially ruled a homicide.
Garrett said he had been fighting to gain custody of his daughter and made repeated complaints accusing Aniya’s mother and her boyfriend of harming and abusing the child.
The girl’s paternal grandmother, Rachael Garrett, told Cleveland.com that in recent months the family would notice bruises, black eyes and rug burns on Aniya’s body, raising concerns that she was being abused and prompting them to contact child services.
Mickhal Garrett cried out that the couple killed his daughter as the pair were being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs
The father collapsed into the arms of his family members who were in attendance
Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services have confirmed that they conducted three separate investigations into allegations of neglect last year, but the agency concluded that there was not enough evidence to remove the child from her mother’s home.
Day was scheduled to meet with a social worker on Monday to discuss Mickhal Garrett’s petition for an emergency custody, reported News 5 Cleveland.
A GoFundMe account has been launched asking for donations to help with Aniya’s funeral expenses. It has raised more than $2,600 so far.
Despite Garrett’s complaints, the child was not removed from her mother’s home because child services did not find sufficient evidence to merit such a move
Too late: Day was scheduled to meet with a social worker on Monday to discuss Mickhal Garrett’s petition for an emergency custody