Cleveland mom investigated for abuse, neglect several times before 5-year-old's death

Ursula Owens is charged with felonious assault. (Source: WOIO)
Ursula Owens is charged with felonious assault. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Five months before 5-year-old Ta'Naejah McCloud's death, Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services received complaints of abuse and neglect against her mom.

In the five weeks leading up to the death of her daughter on March 17, a social worker visited Tequila Crump's home eight times.

Officials said Ta'Naejah was taken to the hospital for massive head trauma and died two days later. Her mother is accused of fatally beating her.

Police are waiting for autopsy results to confirm the girl's cause of death, but prosecutors said the girl had signs of ongoing sexual and physical abuse.

Crump pleaded not guilty to felonious assault. Her bond is set at $1 million.

The county said it didn't find enough evidence of neglect to remove the child from the home.

Ursula Owens, McCloud's live-in girlfriend is also charged with felonious assault. Owens's bond is set at $1 million.

Children and family services said it first investigated abuse and neglect charges against Crump last October, after two complaints were made.

The complaints were investigated, but everything checked out, according to children and family services.

In February, complaints against Crump were made to children and family services from her now ex-girlfriend's 15-year-old son.

Children and family services sent a social worker to the home the next day. County Spokesperson Mary Louise Madigan said the worker, who was relatively new to the job, did all the right things. The social worker interviewed the mom, inspected the house and made sure there was food in the fridge, according to Madigan.

The worker "exceeded professional expectations," said Madigan. The worker bought the family bus tickets and transported them to doctor's appointments, she said.

Children and family services requires social workers to visit a home once a month.  Are eight visits in five weeks a sign of a dedicated social worker, or a red flag that Ta'Naejah's life was in danger?

Madigan said the worker "did a good job, and did what she could do" to prevent the child's death.

According to Madigan, Crump was complying with her case plan so there was no reason to place the girl in a foster home.

The county said it is working closely with the Cleveland Police Department on this case, who has taken over the investigation.  The mom and her girlfriend could face more charges about the girl's death, police said.

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