CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - A one-year-old boy died at the hospital after a motel stay with his mom and her boyfriend. On Wednesday, the boy's grandfather spoke out, saying that he had tried to get his grandson away from the couple before something like this happened.
When FOX 46 spoke with the grandfather Wednesday afternoon, you could sense the frustration and heartbreak, and we found that cases such as his are, sadly, not uncommon.
"If my grandson is dead the system must [not] work, because I tried to do everything legal and it didn't work. Now I gotta figure out how to bury my grandson," Patrick Steele said.
The distraught grandfather and an emotional family are struggling to cope just one day after police say a one-year-old Jaheim was murdered.
"We want the judge to give them the same leniency they showed my grandson," Steele said.
According to CMPD, Jaheim was found in need of serious medical attention at a Best Western Hotel on Woodlawn Road Tuesday morning. He was taken to the hospital by Medic where he was pronounced dead.
The grandfather's daughter and mother of Jahiem, 24-year-old Yasmine Richardson was arrested and charged with felony child abuse causing serious injury. She refused to appear in court on Wednesday.
Her boyfriend, 23-year-old Daquan McFadden, made his first appearance today. He is charged with felony child abuse and murder.
"I seen things. I told social service. I told social services and it's like the system don't work," Steele said.
In court, Social Services confirmed Jaheim had already suffered extensive injuries before his death.
According to Steele, he had been fighting to keep custody of Jaheim and his other two grandsons, but the court ruled against him.
"They gave my daughter back emergency custody. I brought a ton of evidence, even a daycare where they were saying they were being neglected. Judge Collier refused to see it. Nobody knew my grandson would be killed yesterday and this pending case I got to go back to see that same judge who took my boys from me," said Steele.
Statistics released by the state show that parent and caregiver-related homicides are a problem. A mother's boyfriend is about as likely to kill a child as their own mother. Mecklenburg County is one of the worst in the state for these crimes.
Steele says the system that was sworn to protect Jaheim killed him. The case remains under investigation, CMPD says.