Several months before her death, the father of 4-year-old Aniya Day warned authorities in a chilling letter to Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court about the alleged abuse his daughter experienced at the hands of her mother, Sierra Day, and her mother’s boyfriend, Deonte Lewis, who have since been charged in her death. The letter was included in documentation obtained by News 5 from the court.
In the December 2017 letter, Mickhal Garrett asked for full custody of his daughter and pleaded with the court to be allowed in Aniya’s life. Cut off from her, he pointed to signs of abuse that Aniya's relatives had noticed.
“I truly, truly, truly feel as though our daughter is being abused at home physically/mentally and that her life could possibly be in danger,” Garrett wrote.
He described how he became concerned when he found bruises and scars on her body in September 2017. When he confronted Day about the injuries, she stopped further visitation with his daughter.
"After trying to communicate with Sierra about our daughter's wounds is when Ms. Day began to tell me false stories, reject all my phone calls, my visitation and all quality time with our daughter," Garrett wrote in the letter.
The child's daycare documented injuries that show a pattern of abuse going back to 2015. The daycare's current administrator, Tamika Robinson, called police in May 2017 after seeing blood coming from Aniya's ear. The child was taken to Euclid Hospital and CFS was notified, Robinson said.
The daycare took painstaking records of the numerous bumps, bruises, cuts and other injuries they noticed on Aniya's body. In April 2016, the daycare's previous administrator notified state child welfare officials of Aniya's injuries, Robinson said.
"We did everything that we were supposed to do, everything that is required of us," Robinson said.
In the December 2017 letter to juvenile court officials, Garrett wrote: "All I want to do is be in our daughter's life and make sure she's safe and happy each and every day of her life."
On Feb. 26, 2018, Garrett and his attorney were present during a pre-trial custody hearing for Aniya. Garrett said he had contacted Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services, and a social worker was involved in the case, according to court documents.
The court set another hearing for March 15, 2018, noting that a home evaluation would be issued by Children and Family Services.
But on Sunday, March 11 the Euclid Fire Department found Aniya burned and unresponsive at the Cultural Garden Apartments. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead from what authorities would later say was blunt force trauma to the head.
"We want them held accountable. [CFS] failed me,” Garrett said. “They failed us all! Nobody should have to go through this.”
A Cuyahoga County spokesperson released the following statement on Monday:
We know that we are expected to see and recognize patterns of abuse and neglect and if the internal investigation determines we did something wrong there will be discipline. We will continue to cooperate with police and the prosecutor.