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22-month-old girl dies in a foster home; parents say they weren’t notified until the next day

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 19:35:24-04

CLEVELAND — She was their everything.

"She meant the world to me, she was my motivation,” said Dayou Bruce the mother of 22-month-old Mandisa Sizemore.

And now she’s gone.

"I’m used to waking up, seeing my daughter, she wake up smiling every morning,” said William Sizemore Jr., Mandisa’s dad.

Mandisa was in the custody of Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services when she died.

The medical examiner ruled her death accidental, finding she choked on something.

This happened June 16; her parents say they didn’t find out until the next day.

"We’re calling our social worker, calling our social worker, they’re not answering, foster mom not answering, job and family services, they don’t have any answers for us,” said William.

And this family still has very few answers.

They have no idea what lead to her death, if she was being watched properly and they say even after all this time, they say they still haven’t seen her body.

"I want justice for my baby, I want everyone to know what happened,” said Bruce.

"I just feel like the system just really failed us because they're supposed to put my daughter in a safe place,” said William.

Mandisa was taken from her parents' care twice, once in 2019 and again last month.

According to court records, the baby was taken because Bruce allegedly has mental health issues and smokes marijuana sometimes; dad was allegedly violent.

Court documents show they fixed their problems, and got Mandisa back, but after a recent argument, DCFS was called again and May 15 is the last time either of them saw her.

"That’s my last memory of her, that’s my last time holding her, my last time kissing her,” Sizemore said.

Although they acknowledge they aren’t perfect, Mandisa’s parents say she deserves to be alive and they deserve answers.

"We’re going to be diligent and relentless in our investigation,” said the family’s attorney, Stanley Jackson.

Jackson says this is the second time Mandisa was placed in this particular foster home.

He says after Mandisa’s family got her back the first time, her face was bruised.

"We know that this family complained on many occasions actually, that the child had been abused, that the home was unsafe,” said Jackson.

DCFS sent News 5 hundreds of pages of court documents about this case — some of it redacted.

There are only three pages dedicated to the child’s death, acknowledging Mandisa died in the department's custody and its case against the parents is closed.

We are still waiting for additional information from them, and so is Mandisa’s family.