Father of Aniya Day-Garrett files wrongful death lawsuit against Cuyahoga County, Division of Children and Family Services

Updated: Apr. 10, 2019 at 10:57 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Mickhal Garrett, the biological father of Aniya Day-Garrett, has filed a civil lawsuit with the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court for the death of his 4-year-old daughter.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, alleges that the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services and two local day care centers failed to protect Aniya before her death. She was 4 years old when she died in March 2018 from physical abuse, malnourishment, and neglect.

“I’ve never seen a case of this magnitude before where so many people failed Aniya,” said Garrett’s attorney Hannah Klang. “DCFS received at least six reports. I think there are actually much more than that and that is not including the 14 separate reports...Mickhal wants to know how, what, when, where, why all of this happened and why his daughter is no longer here. Not only for his own sake, because it is his daughter, but also to make sure it can’t happen to another kid in this community.”

The 60-page lawsuit states that the Division of Family Services received at least six separate reports via its tip hotline and numerous other reports made verbally alleging mother Sierra Day was physically abusing Aniya. The reports were made by Garrett himself, Aniya, her aunt Erica Johnson, as well as Euclid police and staff at Euclid Hospital, according to the lawsuit:

Cuyahoga County, the Division of Children and Family Services, 12 current or former employees of the department, two Northeast Ohio day care facilities, as well as Day and her boyfriend, Deonte Lewis, are listed as defendants on the lawsuit.

According to Garrett’s lawsuit, Division of Children and Family Services employees and representatives from Harbor Crest day care and Get Ready, Set, Grow day care failed to report the abuse that was visible to anyone who came in contact with the 4-year-old girl.

The lawsuit goes into detail of some of the abuse and injuries Aniya suffered:

  • Sept. 17. 2015 - Bruise on right side of face, looked like a handprint.
  • Oct. 22, 2015 - Bruise to right side of face, looked like a handprint. Child cried most of the day.
  • Sept. 12, 2016 - Bruises on face, eye, and arm. Mother stated that Aniya had fallen out of bed and she removed some bandages from where Aniya had gotten shots.
  • Sept. 21, 2016 - Bruises on her face, under her eye and on her eyelid. Aniya stated that mother did it.
  • Oct. 25, 2016 - Bump on head. Aniya was crying.
  • Dec. 1, 2016 - Aniya had a bruise under her right eye and was crying. Aniya stated that mother had hit her. Day stated that it happened at Applebee’s.
  • Dec. 2, 2016 - Bruise. Aniya stated that mother has been hitting her.
  • Dec. 6, 2016 - Rug burn type scar on left elbow. Aniya stated that mother hit her.
  • Dec. 27, 2016 - Bruise on forehead. Aniya stated that her mother hit her.
  • Jan. 18, 2017 - Aniya came to school with several bruises on the face, arm, and back. When asked about it, Aniya stated that her mother had scratched her.
  • Feb. 10, 2017 - Aniya had a dark-colored bruise under her left eye. Aniya stated that mother did this. Staff noticed bruises on her every day when she comes in.
  • March 14, 2017 - Busted lip observed.
  • May 15, 2017 - Scrape on top of and under her nose. Mother said child fell at the park. Aniya said her mother pushed her down at home.
  • May 18, 2017 - Swelling and dried blood seen on the right side of Aniya’s head and ear.

Garrett’s attorneys discussed the lawsuit with 19 News.

Attorneys for Mickhal Garrett detail Aniya Day-Garrett's wrongful death lawsuit filed against Cuyahoga County. https://bit.ly/2Kq31du

Posted by Cleveland 19 News on Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Aniya’s mother and her boyfriend Lewis were both sentenced to life in prison in March for the girl’s murder.

Paramedics and police investigators were called to Day’s Euclid apartment in March 2018 after receiving a call that the 4-year-old girl was not breathing.

Noticeable burns and bruises were observed on Aniya’s body.

[Medical examiner: 4-year-old Euclid, OH girl suffered stroke ‘weeks to months’ before death, was ‘severely malnourished’]

She was taken to Euclid General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

This story will be updated.

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