MIAMI — The horrors inflicted on 3-year-old Ghanson Debrosse came spilling out Wednesday, as his mother was charged with killing him.
On his mother’s Facebook page, Ghanson Debrosse is the picture of a healthy, carefree boy, grinning broadly, his hands shoved jauntily into the pockets of his baggy jeans.
But behind the brilliant smile was a life of torment and pain.
According to police, Ghanson was burned by his mom with a lighter when he urinated on the floor. He was beaten with an aluminum broom handle when he soiled himself. He was hurled across a room and hit a table. The abuse went on until he could endure no more. He died Tuesday.
The sordid details spilled out Wednesday through police reports and the testimony of a North Miami detective, a day after Ghanson’s mother, Fafane Caze, 21, was arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse and torture. The judge tacked on another charge of attempted felony murder Wednesday, which kept her in jail with no bond. A murder charge is pending as the medical examiner’s office catalogs the toddler’s injuries.
“If anybody deserves the additional charge she deserves it,” said North Miami Maj. Neal Cuevas. “She doesn’t deserve her freedom. She doesn’t deserve being around her children and she definitely doesn’t deserve to be around anyone else’s children.”
On the same day their mother’s case went before a judge, Caze’s other children, a 1-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl, were placed in foster care after no friends or family of Caze stepped forward to house the children.
Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman, who spoke to the children in his chambers, ordered the Department of Children & Families to have them kept together while in foster care. He also wanted the state to find out who fathered Ghanson’s siblings. A hearing for the DCF to file a petition to terminate Caze’s parental rights was set for Feb. 21.
At 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, Caze called 911, saying her son was not breathing. After fire rescue arrived at the home in the 12500 block of Northeast 13th Avenue, the boy was rushed to Jackson North Medical Center, where doctors said he had been dead for at least three hours, according to police.
Caze initially told police that when she picked up her toddler two weeks ago from the airport after he spent some time in Haiti with relatives, he showed signs of abuse. After about 12 hours of questioning, Caze admitted to beating and torturing her child, Cuevas said. “She didn’t shed a tear,” he said. “She cared more about getting arrested than she did about her son.” According to Caze’s arrest report, she “used a lighter to burn the victim’s genital area, in an attempt to stop the victim from urinating on the floor.”
A North Miami police detective testified Wednesday the child also had burns on his face and fingers. He also had buckle-shaped scars, detective Alonzo Rhymer testified. The buckle was from the belt she wore as a security guard. It left multiple scars and open wounds. “Some were fresh, some were old,” he testified.
When he defecated on himself, she beat him with the broom handle, which detectives found broken in two in the home, Rhymer testified. She admitted to hurling the boy across the room and said he hit a table, gasped for air, asked for water and struggled to breathe. Later she she called 911, the detective said.
In the past, Caze had “refused to seek medical attention to treat the victim’s injuries, instead concocting a remedy of vegetable oil and laundry blue to treat the victim’s wounds,” a North Miami detective wrote.
On Tuesday, DCF Secretary Esther Jacobo said there were three prior reports to the child welfare agency about the family, all in 2010. Among the reports, was a call in October 2010. Caze had been arrested, and was being evaluated at Miami’s Juvenile Assessment Center, after she and Ghanson’s father, Donald Debrosse, had a physical altercation.
A DCF report on that incident said Caze was holding Ghanson, then an infant, in her arms while attacking Debrosse and “throwing things at him.” Both parents, the report said, were injured during the fight. And though Caze allegedly tried to “throw the infant at the father,” records say Ghanson was unharmed.
For Cuevas, the details of the case were heartbreaking. He said it’s hard to believe no one saw the signs of abuse and reported them to authorities.
“It is up to us as a community to be a voice for these children,” he said. “All of us need to step up and take responsibility. If you see something or suspect something, tell someone. It will save lives.”