Young Florida lives snuffed out

Miami HeraldAugust 19, 2013 

Since April 11, at least 20 children with a prior DCF history have died. DCF has not revealed the identities of several of the children.

Jewel Re’nee Howard, 3 years old

Died April 11: The Sarasota girl suffered a torn liver and crushed ribs in a beating allegedly administered by her mother’s boyfriend. Weeks earlier, DCF was told Jewel had sustained a lacerated lip requiring stitches.

D.P., 3 years old

Died April 19: He was playing with other children in Alachua County when he was found drowned in a community pool. He had a DCF history and had been in the custody of an uncle.

Aliyah Marie Branum, 2 years old

Died April 26: Her mom, now charged with first-degree murder in Citrus County, allegedly slammed Aliyah’s head into a wall for ‘whining.’ Aliyah had come to DCF’s attention both in August 2012 and January 2013.

Name unavailable, 2 1/2 months old

Died May 4: When this little girl was born on Feb. 20, both she and her mom had narcotics in their bodies. The Sarasota tot was found dead while reports said her parents continued to abuse pills.

K.S., 4 months old

Died May 7: She was run over in the driveway of a Franklin County home. At the time, DCF was investigating a report that her mother was smoking crack in front of her kids and selling food stamps to pay for drugs.

Name unavailable, 16 years old

Died on or about May 11: A Brevard dad who’d recently regained custody allowed her to leave the state with a 24-year-old boyfriend. A caseworker neglected to report her missing. She died of suspected pneumonia.

Bryan Osceola, 11 months old

Died May 16: He baked to death in his mother’s car. Months earlier, the Miami-Dade mom had passed out drunk behind the wheel with an unsecured Bryan next to her and the engine running. DCF took no action then.

Name, age unavailable

Died on May 23: Found in her mom’s bed in Palm Beach County, suffering a lack of oxygen — possibly as a result of a deadly practice called “co-sleeping” with infants. The family had ‘extensive’ DCF history.

K.F., 4 years old

Died May 27: Lee County boy drowned in a swimming pool with between 10 and 15 adults nearby. Though K.F. couldn’t swim, his mother had gone to the store, assuming other adults were watching him.

Fernando Barahona, 1 year old

Died June 3: Cape Coral boy was strangled weeks after DCF gave him back to his mother, despite suspecting physical abuse in an earlier incident that resulted in two skull fractures.

Name, age unavailable

Died June 4: This child turned ‘blue’ and stopped breathing while in their father’s car in Okaloosa County. Authorities say the child died from abuse. DCF previously investigated a report the child had been abused.

Antwan Hope, 4 years old

Died June 10: Coral Springs child was left alone by the state — against a judge’s orders — with his mentally ill mother who lost custody previously after trying to smother him to death.

Ezra Raphael, 2 years old

Died June 20: North Miami Beach mom abandoned the boy with a Gainesville stranger, then took him back. DCF investigated but didn’t intervene. He was then whipped to death, allegedly by his mother’s boyfriend.

Cherish Perrywinkle, 8 years old

Died June 22: The Jacksonville girl was strangled by a registered sex offender after her mother, a longtime drug abuser, allowed the man to take the little girl from a mall. Cherish’s parents had lengthy DCF histories.

Name unavailable, 2 1/2 years old

Died June 23: He drowned in a Citrus County canal at 10 a.m. while his parents slept. A private social service agency said it had given them locks and safety alarms to prevent such an occurrence. The parents denied that.

Christian Byrd, 2 years old

Died June 24: He drowned in a pool behind a Lehigh Acres daycare center with a DCF history. The owner said she’d left Christian and two other small children unsupervised in the pool while she went to the bathroom.

Jayden Villegas, 2 years old

Died July 21: Police said his father shook the Homestead boy and threw him against a wall. DCF had given Jayden to the father after removing him from his mother. The dad had a history of domestic violence.

Dakota Stiles, 3 years old

Died July 25: He drowned in a slimy, green Vero Beach pool that, only weeks earlier, a DCF investigator had described as ‘exceptionally unsafe… green from disrepair, filthy, filled with unsanitary water and bugs.’

Michael Williams, 7 months old

Died Aug. 9: Living in a battered spouse shelter in Kissimmee, the tot died after eating a laundry detergent pod. DCF acknowledged having ‘prior history’ with the family, but has yet to release the details.

Yvonne Bailey, 1 year old

Died Aug. 14: Burned by drug-abusing parents, the Sanford girl was put in foster care, then with a relative who — despite instructions to the contrary — gave her to another relative whose husband allegedly killed her.

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