CLEVELAND (WJW)– The Cuyahoga County Council approved a $3 million settlement with the father of 4-year-old Aniya Day-Garrett on Tuesday.
Mickhal Garrett sued Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services following the little girl’s death, claiming the agency ignored signs of abuse while he fought for custody.
“Why did it have to take my daughter losing her precious life when all she wanted to do was be protected,” Garrett said on Tuesday. “We don’t want the money, we don’t care about the money. It’s not about that for us, that’s the least of our worries… Saving our children’s lives, that’s what we care about.”
Garrett said he will continue to help children through the Justice for Aniya Foundation, an organization he founded after his daughter’s death.
Aniya died on March 11, 2018. Forensic experts said she suffered blunt force trauma to her head, had at least one stroke, and her body was covered in burns and bruises. Aniya was also emaciated, weighing just 26 pounds.
Aniya’s mother, Sierra Day, and her mother’s boyfriend, Deonte Lewis, were found guilty of aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, permitting child abuse, endangering children and tampering with evidence. They were sentenced to life in prison: Day without the possibility of parole and Lewis without the possibility of parole after 20 years.
Since his daughter’s death, Garrett became an outspoken critic of children and family services, holding protests and calling for reforms.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services released a scathing report on the county’s handling of five investigations into suspected abuse of Aniya. The state received tips about the girl’s treatment more than a year before she was murdered.
In one case, a caseworker never saw Aniya face to face. Caseworkers didn’t take the child away even after she told them in two investigations, “Mommy did it.”