Observations made by a Euclid police officer investigating the death of 4-year-old Aniya Day-Garrett are raising the question: was the little girl dead before the 911 call for help was made?
On March 11 at 3:40 p.m., Aniya was pronounced dead by a doctor at Euclid General Hospital. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner has ruled the death a homicide, saying the 4-year-old had received blunt impacts to her head, resulting in a subdural hematoma that lead to a stroke. She was also malnourished.
Sixteen minutes earlier, a 911 caller reported that the girl was conscious and breathing, but a police officer would later note in his report that Aniya "had been deceased for some time."
Using records and information from the Euclid Police and Fire Departments, Cleveland 19 put together a timeline of the day Aniya-Day Garrett died.
Deonte Lewis, who is dating Aniya's mother, Sierra Day, called 911 at 3:24 p.m., requesting an ambulance for the child. "My daughter is having a hard time breathing," Lewis told the 911 call taker. "She's breathing, but she's barely breathing." Lewis said Aniya's eyes were open but she wasn't speaking. Day then got on the phone and said the girl had been "acting a little sick" and "weird" ever since the family had dinner at Red Lobster a few days prior. She said she thought that Aniya had a stomach virus because she had been vomiting.
At 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the call, Day told the 911 call taker that she just got her daughter sitting up and said that she had tried to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation on Aniya. "Well if she's breathing, you probably don't need to do CPR," the 911 call taker told Day. "I put my hands up to her nose to see if she's breathing and I didn't feel no air coming out, but she got her eye open," said Day. "Wait a minute, is she not breathing?" the call taker replied. Day responded no. "Your child is not breathing?" the call taker asked again. Day responded no a second time and the 911 call taker then instructs her to perform CPR on Aniya.
At 3:30 p.m., an ambulance arrived at Lakeshore Boulevard apartment complex. Police dash camera footage shows medics caring Aniya's lifeless body into the ambulance at 3:32 p.m. The medics advised police that Aniya had burns on her body and that her heart was not beating.The ambulance can then be seen pulling away less than two minutes later.
The ambulance arrived at Euclid General Hospital at 3:37 p.m. In his investigative report, Officer Jeff Herold noted that saw a large black bruise on Aniya's left eye while the medics were pull the gurney out of the ambulance. He wrote, "I looked at the medic and asked if she is alive, he just shook his head no."
Once inside the hospital. Dr. Dale Pignolet pronounced Aniya decease at 3:40 p.m.
Officer Herold stated that it was relayed in the medical room that Aniya "had been deceased for some time."
"I began looking at Day, her appearance was very pale and her waist was raised and twisted and stayed that way while she layed (sic) on the bed," Officer Herold wrote in his report. "It was leaned that this was because rigor mortis had already set in."
Rigor mortis is the medical term for the postmortem stiffening of the body's joints and muscles, and typically doesn't occur until hours after someone has died.
Officer Herold also noted that Aniya's body was ice cold to the touch.
Cleveland 19 News confirmed with Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court that Aniya's biological father, Mickhal Garrett, had another court date set for Monday, March 19. He'd been trying to get custody of Aniya for years.
Sierra Day and Deonte Lewis have both been charged with aggravated murder and are being held on $1 million bonds.
Funeral services for Aniya are being held today and tomorrow. The viewing is Friday from 12-7pm at Strowders Funeral Home. The viewing is open to the public.
Aniya's funeral is 1pm Saturday at Rivers of Life Ministries on Lakeshore Boulevard in Euclid.
If you'd like to help the family with expenses, click here to contribute to her GoFundMe.