Mom fights for justice after babysitter charged with assault of 3-month-old

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 11:57 AM EDT|Updated: May. 20, 2022 at 7:12 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The mom of a baby girl is fighting for justice, claiming the infant’s babysitter abused her nearly to death.

Police arrested 51-year-old Teresa Lawson in this case back in November.

Court records show Lawson, of Cleveland, has been charged with felonious assault, domestic assault and three counts of endangering children.

Lawson has pleaded not guilty, according to the records.

Rashae Henderson, the baby’s mom, said Zyia had a traumatic brain bleed, bruises, strokes, seizures and a broken rib after being watched by Lawson.

“You almost took the only person that I love, the one child that I have,” Henderson said.

From the outside, you can’t tell what happened to Zyia, just nine months old now.

“She’s a really happy baby. She started to move a lot now,” Henderson said.

It’s been six months since Henderson said she was badly beaten.

“She had severe bruises all over her face, her neck, her back, her butt,” Henderson said.

It’s been a long path to recovery. Zyia still needs medication and therapy every week.

And it’s not over yet.

“I’ve been fighting for her and I’m going to keep fighting for her because she needs justice. She was three months so she could not speak for herself,” Henderson said.

Zyia is nine months old now.
Zyia is nine months old now.(WOIO)

Back in November, Henderson said she dropped Zyia off at a trusted family member’s house on Cleveland’s west side to babysit her when she went to work an overnight shift.

She said she called to check on her every two hours.

At some point the next day, Henderson said her family member, Teresa Lawson, told her over the phone there had been an accident-- her baby rolled off the bed.

Henderson said she rushed Zyia to the hospital.

She said police told her her baby didn’t fall, she was beaten.

“She wasn’t moving when we made it to the hospital. So that was like really traumatizing to see her and then she was like doing like a little jerk with her leg and she couldn’t even move her eyes or anything. It was really, really disturbing,” she said.

If she had waited to pick up her daughter, Henderson believes she may not be here today.

“It changed my life that day. Let’s just say that it changed my life. To even see her like that, to look at any baby the way that my daughter was the date at that incident happened. Horrible. I won’t wish that on nobody,” Henderson said.

In court Tuesday at her final pretrial, we approached Lawson and her attorney for a comment.

“Seeking justice, that’s all we’re doing,” her attorney Gene Michael Goins said.

Justice for Ziya is exactly what her mom said she wants.

“You need to be sitting in prison, that’s where you need to be,” Henderson said.

Lawson is out on bond right now and wearing an ankle monitor.

She recently rejected a plea deal.

Her trial was set for Monday, but it was just delayed.

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