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Two women indicted on aggravated murder charge in 5-year-old girl's death

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Posted at 3:27 PM, Apr 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-03 15:39:54-04

Two women have been indicted on multiple counts, including aggravated murder, in connection with the death of a 5-year-old girl. 

Ursula Owens, 37, the child’s mother, and her partner Tequila Crump, 26, are charged with aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, and endangering children.

Last month, 5-year-old Ta’Naejah McCloud was pronounced dead at University Hospitals. According to prosecutors, Owens said the girl had a seizure. Doctors, however, discovered that the child suffered from severe head and brain trauma. 

RELATED: Children and Family Services first warned about abuse five months before 5-year-old's death

Police said the girl also had older injuries, like burns.

Ta’Naejah's brother, 15-year-old Rayvon Owens, told News 5 he witnessed the girl's beating death and performed CPR on her lifeless body in an effort to save her. 

“I really wanted her to wake up,” Rayvon said, through tears. 

The boy said he watched his mother and Ta’Naejah's mother take turns standing over the girl and repeatedly hitting her in the head. 

It wasn’t the first time that the teen spoke up about the abuse. He told his legal guardian, Sierra Giles, that the girl was being beaten in October 2016.

The Cuyahoga County Department of Child and Family Services confirmed that two calls were received at that time. The case was investigated but the “allegations were not substantiated.”

A separate case was opened in February regarding allegations that something was not right in the home. Based on the assessment, social workers kept the case open.

Social workers visited the home 8 times in five weeks since the case was opened, according to records. The visits took place at the home, at a case appointment or at a medical appointment. A case plan was then developed because of allegations of neglect and abuse. 

One of Ta’Naejah's legal guardians told News 5 she was never notified about Cuyahoga County’s open abuse and neglect investigation until after the girl's death. 

Shabrina McCloud had shared legal custody of the girl. She told News 5 in a phone interview that the first time she was contacted by Cuyahoga County Children and Family services was two days after Ta’Naejah’s death, asking to confirm her social security number.

“I had no idea,” McCloud said. “If I had known about the allegations I would have brought her back to Virginia.” 

Owens and Crump are being held on $1,000,000 bond.