Vigil held for 5-year-old girl beaten to death in Cleveland home

Vigil held for 5-year-old girl beaten to death in Cleveland home
They released balloons in TaNaejah's memory. (Source: WOIO)
They released balloons in TaNaejah's memory. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - About two dozen people gathered Thursday night at a vigil to honor 5-year-old Ta'Naejah McCloud.

Ta'Naejah died on Sunday. She was hospitalized this past Friday.

Police said she was beaten to death in her home near East 105th Street and St. Clair Avenue in Cleveland.

Her mother and her mother's girlfriend are charged with felonious assault in the case. Police say Ta'Naejah suffered massive head trauma at the hands of her own mother and she showed signs of ongoing physical and sexual abuse.

On Thursday, family, friends, and neighbors prayed for the memory of a child who was lost too soon.

The woman who reported Ta'Naejah's abuse to the child abuse hotline twice feels like her death could have been prevented.

"I called, I tried ... I tried," said Isha Little.

Little's mother lived next door to Ta'Naejah, and she used to visit her with her daughter.

"The clothes that were too little for my daughter I used to set aside because I was going to drop the clothes off to her. They just didn't treat her right. She was a nice little girl," Little said.

Little says she became suspicious something wasn't right and she started dropping by to check on the little girl.

"She was getting beaten and I saw it with my own eyes. And me and her got into it. It was like 5 a.m., I saw her pushing the little girl, pick her up by the neck. I was like, 'Not on my own time, you're not gonna do that on my time,'" Little said.

Family and friends released balloons in the little girl's memory at the end of the vigil. Neighbor Marie Hill urged people to speak up for the children who can't.

"People are afraid to get involved because they get slapped down, by legal, by everything else. You're right, it needs to change," Hill said.

Cleveland 19 did some digging and found out Ta'Naejah's mom, Tequila Crump, was under investigation by Children and Family Services twice. You can read more on Carl Monday's investigation here

Crump and her girlfriend Ursula Owens are behind bars on a $1 million bond.

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