Two-year-old Aniyah Batchelor’s stay in a Fort Washington, Maryland foster home ended violently last Tuesday when a 12-year-old boy in the same home beat her to death, according to local police. The boy, a biological son of Aniyah’s foster parents, has been charged with second-degree murder. The Washington Post reports:
[Police spokeswoman Julia] Parker would not say whether detectives had determined a motive for the attack, but she said the 12-year-old boy had “beaten the child repeatedly” in a single incident. No weapon was used, she said.
The foster parents, a man and a woman, were not at home at the time of the incident, Parker said.
There were four children in the home at the time of the incident and, according to Parker, the family’s 15-year-old daughter was left in charge of the three others. Aniyah’s mother, Stephany Cunningham, had a positive opinion of her daughter’s foster parents until she found out Aniyah was left unsupervised:
“I want to know how can they let kids watch kids and let my baby get beat,” she said, crying on the phone.
The search for answers will likely have to wait until the case heads to court as Maryland’s Department of Social Services [DSS] has declined to comment, citing privacy rules. Police have refused to comment on whether the boy had any criminal history, but did confirm that they have no history of involvement with the family.
The local community has been shaken by this case which doesn’t match the image of the happy family they have come to know. One neighbor, Jean Price, shared her memories of the 12-year-old boy who now stands accused of murder:
“I loved him so much,” she said. “He was the sweetest child you’d ever want to know.”
She said she and her husband, Jim Price, have known the family for about eight years, and she described the parents and youngsters as “wonderful.”
“Their whole family is so special,” Jean Price said, adding that the 12-year-old boy sometimes talked with her about his grades. When she asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, she said, he replied, “I want to be successful.”
The foster parents have not spoken publicly. The Police laid out the timeline of events in a report from theWashington Times:
According to a police source with knowledge of the case, the 15-year-old found Aniyah crying — apparently as a result of being hit in the chest and abdomen — and put her to bed. Later the 15-year-old went to check on the toddler, saw she was unresponsive and called the father.
“With the help of a 911 dispatcher, the father performed CPR but the child was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead,” Parker said.