These Children Were Beaten to Death. Could They Have Been Saved?


After child care workers reported on Aug. 26 that Jayce had a swollen finger and his 5-year-old brother had other injuries, the children were interviewed at a Child Advocacy Center, where both said they were injured horsing around with each other, the police said. The police said that Jayce was given a referral for a medical exam, but never made it to an appointment. Jayce’s grandmother Ms. DelValle said that the family was never told to make an appointment.

Jayce’s A.C.S. case had been closed by the time he died on Sept. 12, a law enforcement official said. An autopsy determined his skull had been fractured some time ago, and he had freshly broken ribs, a perforated stomach and bites on both ears. His mother’s boyfriend, Jerimiah Johnson, 27, was charged with murder.

Jayce’s death came only hours after Aisyn Gonzalez was found dead. No one has been charged yet in his murder, or in Julissia’s.

Two days before Aisyn’s death, 13-month-old Legacy Beauford bled to death of abdominal injuries. He had also been sodomized with a toothbrush, the police said after his death. The police had been dispatched to his apartment four times in May and July after 911 callers reported possible abuse, but found no signs of abuse.

Legacy’s mother, Jessica Melendez, said in an interview that all the 911 calls were unfounded and that her neighbors called the police on her because she often had several children in her apartment — her own and her nieces and nephews — playing loudly and making noise.

Ms. Melendez’s boyfriend, Keishawn Gordon, who was charged with murdering Legacy, told the police he kept squeezing the child because he wouldn’t stop crying, according to a criminal complaint. “He kept throwing up,” Mr. Gordon said. “He was irking me.”

In Ayden Wolfe’s case, officers who went to the floor where a 911 caller reported screaming and banging listened at doors but did not knock on any,tried and failed to reach the 911 caller and left, the police said. Ayden died the next day. A department review of the officers’ actions found that they were appropriate. Ayden’s mother’s boyfriend, Ryan Cato, was charged with his murder.



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