EUCLID, Ohio -- The father of 4-year-old Aniya Day-Garrett warned that he felt the girl was being abused and that her life could be in danger months before she was killed, and the child’s day care made more than a dozen reports of suspected abuse.
Aniya was pronounced dead after Euclid Police were called to her mother’s apartment on Lakeshore Boulevard on March 11. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office said Aniya suffered from blunt impacts to the head and malnutrition.
The girl's mother, Sierra Day, and her boyfriend, Deonte Lewis, were charged with aggravated murder in the case. They are being held on $1 million bond each.
In December, Aniya’s father, Mickhal Garrett, filed for custody, writing in an affidavit, “I truly, truly, truly, feel as though our daughter (Aniya) is being abused at home physically/mentally and that her life could possibly be in danger.”
Garrett wrote that he last saw Aniya in late September and was “very disturbed and concerned” about scars and bruises on her body. He stated that after he confronted Day about the wounds, she began cutting off his visits with Aniya and claiming the girl was out of state.
Day was granted custody of Aniya in October after filing for an order of protection for herself and Aniya against Garrett. A judge granted the order in November, noting Day testified that Garrett had committed domestic violence.
Garrett did not attend the hearing and wrote in his affidavit that he did not receive notice because he had moved to a new home and his address changed. He called the allegations of domestic violence “completely untrue” and stated Day “has been telling false allegations to the domestic violence courts” since he questioned her about suspected abuse.
Day did not attend a February custody hearing, during which the court appointed a guardian. The court set another hearing for March 19, days after Aniya was murdered.
Harbor Crest Childcare Academy, which Aniya attended, alerted police of suspected abuse more than a dozen times.
In May 2017, owner Tamika Robinson called Euclid police to report staff saw marks on the girl throughout the week and noticed Aniya was bleeding from her ear, according to an incident report. She was taken by ambulance to a hospital.
According to the report, Aniya told staff earlier that week that “mommy had pushed her down at home and her nose got hurt on the carpet” but that “mommy keeps saying that it happened at the park.” The report states the girl constantly wanted to be hugged and asked staff, “Am I being good?”
In the report, a Euclid police officer summarized all incident reports made by the facility concerning Aniya:
Sept. 17, 2015 – Bruise to right side of face, looked like a hand print
Oct. 22, 2015 – Bruise to right side of face, looked like a hand print. Child cried most of the day.
Sept. 12, 2016 – Bruises on face, eye and arm. Mother stated that Aniya had fallen out of bed.
Sept. 21, 2016 – Bruises on her face, under her eye and on her eye lid. Aniya stated that mom did it.
Oct. 25, 2016 – Bump on head. Aniya was crying.