Family, neighbors speak out at vigil for Ta'Naejah McCloud

Bystander said she tried to report abuse
Posted at 11:34 PM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 09:28:49-04

A woman who said she witnessed the abuse of Ta’Naejah McCloud, a 5-year-old Cleveland girl who died after police said she was beaten March 17, told News 5 she made attempts to try to save her.

Isha Little spoke to News 5 during a vigil for the girl. Little said, on one occasion, she witnessed the girl’s mother, Tequila Crump, grab her by the neck.

“And that’s when I pushed the door open and was like, ‘You’re not going to do that on my time,’” Little said. “That was a 5-year-old child and don’t nobody’s child deserve to be beaten.”

McCloud died from serious physical harm, court records indicated. Crump, and her partner Ursula Owens, have both been charged with felonious assault.

Little broke down in tears during Thursday’s vigil outside the girl’s Bryant Avenue home and said she wished she had tried to adopt the child.

“I have a 5-year-old daughter myself,” she said. "My daughter used to play with her.”

Family and friends marched through the street, prayed and released balloons in honor of the little girl.

McCloud’s 15-year-old brother Rayvon Owens said he knew his sister was smiling down from heaven.

“And y’all know that Ta’Naejah said thank you because the sun’s out and it’s bright,” he said.

On Wednesday, Owens told News 5 he reported the abuse multiple times. He found her unconscious on March 17 and tried to rescue her.

“I tried to do everything,” he said. “I did CPR, kept feeling her heart, kept saying call 911. It didn’t work.”

A News 5 investigation revealed social workers visited the home eight times in recent weeks, but Crump was still able to keep custody because they didn’t have enough evidence to remove her from the home.