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Mother, boyfriend charged: Abuse of slain girl, 4, documented since 2015

EUCLID, Ohio -- Horrific details are emerging about the abuse sustained by Aniya Day, 4, whose mother and boyfriend have been charged in her death. Home visits from Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services and injuries documented by Aniya's day care show a pattern of abuse dating back to 2015.

On Sunday, March 11, the Euclid Fire Department found Aniya burned and unresponsive at the Cultural Garden Apartments. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed she died of blunt force trauma to the head. A follow-up visit by children and family services was scheduled for Monday.

Prior to the 911 call that brought EMS to Aniya's home, Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services had closed several cases of alleged physical abuse against Aniya, say police.

The girl’s mother, Sierra Day, didn’t have a criminal record in May 2017 when a report was filed by Aniya's day care, Harbor Crest Childcare, for "abusing a minor." The day care had been documenting injuries to Aniya since 2015 at that point.

WEWS sent a reporter to the day care for comment, but officials declined to do so.

According to police, the day care's incident reports concerning Aniya included:

  • Sept. 17, 2015: Bruise to right side of face, looked like a hand print.
  • Oct. 22, 2015: Bruise to the right side of face, looked like a hand print. Child cried most of the day.
  • Sept. 12, 2016: Bruises on face, eye and arm. Mother stated that Aniya had fallen out of bed and she had removed some bandages where Aniya had gotten shots.
  • Sept. 21, 2016: Bruises on her face, under her eye and on her eye lid. Aniya stated that mom did it.
  • Oct. 25, 2016: Bump on head. Aniya was crying.
  • Dec. 1, 2016: Aniya had a bruise under her right eye and was crying. Aniya stated that mom had hit her. Mom stated it happened at Applebee’s
  • Dec. 2, 2016: Bruise on left? (sic) Aniya stated that mom had been hitting her.
  • Dec. 6, 2016: Rug burn type scar on left elbow. Aniya said that mom hit her.
  • Dec. 27, 2016: Bruise on forehead. Mommy hit me.
  • Jan. 18, 2017: Aniya came to school with several bruises on the face, arm and back. Aniya has a raised bruise on her left upper forearm. When asked about it, Aniya stated that her mommy had scratched her.
  • Feb. 10, 2017: Aniya has a dark-colored bruise under her left eye. Aniya stated that mom did this. Staff had noticed bruises on her every day when she comes in.
  • March 14, 2017: Right side of lip. Busted lip.
  • May 15, 2017: Scrape on top and under nose. Mother said child fell at the park. Child says mommy pushed her down at home.
  • May 18, 2017: Right side of head and ear. Swollen and dried blood. According to police, a childcare center worker said Aniya wanted to be held and hugged, and constantly asked, “Am I being good?”

On May 18, 2017, Aniya was transported to Euclid Hospital when day care staff noticed dry blood in her ear and abrasions on her head, according to a police report.

At the hospital, police gave a county social worker a report detailing all the incidents listed above. According to police, Aniya told the county social worker, "Mommy hits her and hurts her."

WEWS has requested reports related to Aniya from Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services, which, days later, has yet to provide them.

Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services officials were made aware of the reports of abuse, and a worker told police on March 6, 2018 the agency received a request from an "undisclosed party" to conduct a home visit and evaluation on Aniya.

Police say that when paramedics arrived at Aniya’s home on Sunday, March 11, Aniya was in full cardiac arrest. When she was placed in the ambulance, medics told police that they saw Day and Lewis standing near the entrance of the apartment building showing "no emotion that the child was being placed into the ambulance.”

At the hospital, police noticed abuse to Aniya. She had a black swollen mark on her left eye with a laceration, causing her eye to be completely swollen shut, according to a police report.

Several burn marks were on her right ankle that appeared to have blistered, popped open and dried, police said. Aniya’s arms and legs were "very thin, and you could see every bone in her ribs." It appeared she had been deceased "for some time," and her skin was cold to the touch.