RICHMOND, Va. -- A toddler died Friday from injuries caused by a brutal sex assault at a Virginia motel, according to police.
The mother of 17-month-old Nariah Brown, Aija Brown, told WTVR she left her daughter in a South Richmond motel room with a person she trusted.
Police confirmed a person of interest in the case has been jailed in the alleged May 8 attack. He was arrested by U.S. Marshals on a probation violation, WTVR reports.
"I was gonna’ always do anything to protect her,” Brown said. “She never did anything to anybody. She wasn't a mean baby. She was loving. She would go up to strangers hug them and smile."
Nariah was born prematurely, and, for three months, she fought to live.
Aija Brown said she never missed a day at the hospital, and pledged to her baby girl that she would never leave her side. A promise she said she kept until the very end.
"I was giving my baby CPR in the back seat,” Brown said. "Because I thought she wasn't breathing."
Nariah had a radiant personality. A little girl who loved Disney Jr.
"She loved puppy dog pals and loved dogs,” said Brown. “She'd say ‘woof-woof.’ She was just really learning to talk."
Nariah was Brown’s only child.
She said she was emotionally distraught and will lean on her family for support and love to help her carry on without her smiling and happy baby girl.
While no one has been charged yet in Nariah's death, charges are expected to be announced soon, according to WTVR sources. The cause and manner of Nariah's death has not yet been released.
There will be a vigil for Nariah Tuesday night; a GoFundMe has been set up to help the family pay for funeral services.