Anya was allegedly beaten to death by her mother and her boyfriend on Sunday, March 11. Prior to that, she was starved and had her feet and legs burned. As a result of the torture, the child died in Euclid Hospital in Cleveland on Sunday from a stroke. Medical examiners said the stroke was caused by repeated blows to the head.
Her mother Sierra Day, 23, and Day’s boyfriend Deonte Lewis, 26, were charged with aggravated murder and held on $1 million bonds.
Day and her boyfriend called 911 at about 11.30am on Sunday to report that Aniya was unresponsive and not breathing. Day claimed Aniya started “acting weird” when they took her to Red Lobster the previous Thursday and that she fell off a toilet seat on Sunday. She said her daughter was unable to keep food or water down and threw up Tylenol she gave her, then barely ate any breakfast the morning of her death.
But when police arrived, they saw that Aniya’s skin appeared to be “extremely pale and lifeless,” and her face and neck were “very small and emaciated”. The toddler also had what appeared to be rug burn marks on her feet and legs and was so malnourished paramedics “could see the individual joints” of her fingers. Doctors then noticed a big bruise on her left eye which was nearly swollen shut, a cut above her left eyebrow, and scald marks on both legs.
It has been revealed that Harbor Crest Child Care filed an abusing a minor report against Day in May 2017 allegedly documenting 18 months of injuries to Aniya. Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services also conducted three separate investigations into allegations of neglect last year. However, it concluded there was not enough evidence to remove the child from her mother’s home.
Aniya’s father Mickhal Garrett had been fighting to gain custody of his daughter and made repeated complaints accusing Day and Lewis of harming and abusing the child. Day was scheduled to meet with a social worker on Monday, March 19 to discuss Mickhal Garrett’s petition for an emergency custody but Aniya was killed before then.
As Day and boyfriend Lewis faced court on Tuesday, Aniya’s father jumped to his feet and screamed in anguish: “You killed my f***ing child! You hurt my baby.” He then collapsed into the arms of family members and sobbed uncontrollably.
Garrett has accused Child Protective Service of failing him and his child.
“We want them to be held accountable,” said Garrett. “CPS failed me. They failed us all. Nobody should have to go through this. So many people tried and tried to make sure Aniya Marie Garrett was safe and they failed our family.”