Cuyahoga County Executive appoints independent review panel to look into Aniya Day-Garrett case

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced during Tuesday's council meeting that a special panel was appointed to review the case of four-year-old Aniya Day-Garrett, who was murdered earlier this month.

Budish said, "Aniya Day-Garrett's death is a tragedy that tears at our hearts. Our prayers are with all those who loved and cared for her. We will continue to cooperate with the prosecutor who is leading the criminal investigation of her mother and her mother's boyfriend. We too must thoroughly investigate this case and our practices at the Department of Children and Family Services. For that reason, I have appointed an independent review panel of six respected local and national experts."

The panel was asked to independently:

  • Review the case and assess whether staff followed DCFS policies and procedures;
  • Compare the timeline of responses and services to the state guidelines for response times;
  • Assess whether the investigation and case work reflect solid child welfare practices.

Budish also asked the panel for recommendations to prevent this tragedy from happening again.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said it is investigating if Harbor Crest Childcare Academy reported every instance of suspected abuse to the county, as required.

Police and paramedics were called to an apartment on Lakeshore Boulevard in Euclid on March 11 for an unresponsive child. Aniya was taken to Euclid Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Sierra Day and Deonte Lewis, were charged with aggravated murder. Their bond is set at $1 million each.

Continuing coverage of this story here.