SOUTH DAYTONA, Fla. - South Daytona police said a mother and her live-in boyfriend are responsible for the death of the woman's 4-year-old son.
Mikkia Lewis, 22, and Joe McCaskell, 32, are both in jail on aggravated child abuse charges. Police said they expect to upgrade the couple's charges.
According to an arrest report, Lewis and McCaskell beat the young child so badly, it ultimately resulted in his death. Police said McCaskell called 911 on April 15 to report that the boy, named K.C., was not breathing. Paramedics pronounced the 4-year-old dead and police began an investigation.
Bridal shop owner Lucy Riley told Eyewitness News that Lewis came to her store before her arrest, looking to buy a tuxedo for the 4-year-old boy.
When Riley told her to bring him in so she could take his measurements, Lewis said the child had died in an accident.
"She said she would have brought him in, but he was dead because he fell down the stairs. At that moment I felt like putting my foot in my mouth," Riley said.
Riley is devastated after learning Lewis and her boyfriend are actually the ones accused in the boy's death.
"To lose a family member is a hard thing but to lose a child and it's torture, that's just horrific," Riley said.
Riley noticed that Lewis and the woman with her were wearing 'rest in peace' shirts and had a donation jar with K.C.'s picture on it.
"I hugged her and I said 'I will donate this tuxedo, you pick it out and I will pay for it', because I felt so bad," Riley said.
Riley ordered the tuxedo but got concerned when it arrived and no one came to pick it up. She said she then saw Lewis' mug shot on the news and learned that the boy's death was not an accident.
Riley said she is determined to make sure K.C. wears the tuxedo at his funeral service.
"I will find out the exact funeral home and take that little tuxedo to him... When he goes to God's kingdom, he needs to be dressed like a little prince," Riley said.
Lewis and McCaskell are being held in the Volusia County jail.