Couple charged in baby's death
Investigators say great-grandmother covered up abuse when girl's leg broke
A'aniah Collins had suffered a great deal of pain by the time her short life ended Dec. 15.
Broken bones, bruises and bites.
And fear, relatives say. She would cling to other people and cry whenever her mother and her mother's boyfriend would come to pick her up.
Despite the signs of abuse, prosecutors say no one called child welfare authorities. One witness, investigators say, admits lying to cover for the suspects.
Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi on Friday charged the girl's mother, Brandy Strader, and Strader's boyfriend, Lester Smith, in connection with the beating death of 16-month-old A'aniah.
Smith, 21, was charged with murder and is accused of inflicting the blunt-force injuries that killed A'aniah. Strader, 20, was charged with neglect for allegedly ignoring the abuse and failing to protect her daughter. If convicted, Smith could face a sentence of 45 to 65 years in prison and Strader could face 20 to 50 years, Brizzi said.
Warrants were issued for their arrests, but neither was in custody late Friday evening.
Evidence of abuse was clear to doctors who performed A'aniah's autopsy.
Two doctors found bruises on her head, her stomach and elsewhere on her body. A dentist saw a human bite mark on A'aniah's face. The doctors found her malnourished, weighing 161/2 pounds at the time of her death. Prosecutors say that is about the size of a typical 6-month-old.
The unexplained injuries began shortly after Smith moved in with A'aniah's mother in March, Tudor said.
Chelcie Croom, A'aniah's 13-year-old aunt, told police she saw Smith yank A'aniah's arm and hurl racial insults at the child.
"You're not my baby," Smith told A'aniah, according to records.
A'aniah's father, Donald Collins III, and his mother, Rhonda Collins, could not be reached Friday. They have told The Star that they feared for the girl's safety and tried to alert Child Protection Services, but got no response.
Investigators have not found evidence to support that, Brizzi said. Child welfare officials say no one reported abuse.
Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........
Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?
"Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight