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Mother, girlfriend sentenced for beating death of 5-year-old girl

Posted at 1:48 PM, Jul 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 13:51:19-04

The mother convicted for the beating death of her 5-year-old daughter in March 2017 and the mother's girlfriend, also convicted for the girl's death, were sentenced on Tuesday.

According to court records, 5-year-old Ta'Naejah McCloud was beaten inside her Bryant Avenue home by her mother Tequila Crump and Crump's partner Ursula Owens on St. Patrick's Day.

Owens was convicted of reckless homicide, murder, felonious assault and multiple counts of endangering children. Crump was convicted of reckless homicide and endangering children.

Crump was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Owens was sentenced to 25 years to life, according to the judge.

Dominique Crump, the brother of Tequila and uncle of Ta'Naejah spoke on behalf of his family, mentioning how their mother worked tirelessly to provide a home that was warm, safe and clean. 

"When I first learned my sister was pregnant with Ta'Naejah, I wondered how she would take care of her when she could barely take care of herself," Crump said.

Dominique recalled picking up 14-month-old Ta'Naejah and Tequila from the bus stop in Maryland for Thanksgiving.

"She and Ta'naejah were dirty and smelled. Ta'Naejah's clothes were wet and she didn't have a coat. Tequila came with a bag of dirty clothes and cigarettes in her pocket.....During the week they were with us, my wife, my mother-in-law and I witnessed a lot of verbal abuse and neglect," he said.

He added, "I never in a million years imagined we would be where we are at today but I knew my sister was struggling and needed help. I knew Ta'Naejah needed more."

After not being able to stop thinking about his niece, Dominique called children protective services in Lynchburg, Virginia to explain his observations and see if there were any resources they could provide. He was told since no one ever called on the family, social workers would make a note of it.

In the fall of 2016, he was notified by his mother of burns Ta'Naejah's had suffered. Tequila told their mother that Ta'Naejah had special needs and was trying to make her own bath.

"For all the things my sister is, I couldn't imagine that she would intentionally hurt her own child," Dominique said.

Rayvon Owens, Ta'Naejah's older brother, testified against his mother in court. He said he witnessed the abuse and alerted the authorities.

"I got to testify against my mother," he said. "I know no child ever wants to send their mother to jail, but for me, it's the right thing to do and that's something that I'm going to do cause I'm going to get justice for my sister."

Neither Crump nor Owens spoke to the court during sentencing.