‘I couldn’t do anything’: Mother of girl who died in Brevard foster care says the system failed her

TITUSVILLE, Fla. — For Nakesha Hicks-King, the past week has been a nightmare.

Titusville police say her four-year-old daughter, Joy, died last week after she was abused and neglected while in the care of her foster mother, 41-year-old Lakeisha Mitchell.

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Mitchell has been arrested, facing charges of child neglect and child abuse.

“It’s not normal to see your child laying there, and you can’t do anything...I couldn’t do anything,” King recalls.

King says her children were removed from her home in January because of potential abuse by the father of one of her children. King says she places the blame on herself.

“I made a mistake and trusted somebody,” King said. “This was not a random person. This was my youngest child’s father, and I trusted him with my kids.”

King says Joy had behavioral problems, and was in several homes before ending up with Mitchell.

“When my baby first got placed in her home, Ms. Mitchell reached out to me...told me who she was.”

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She says Mitchell told her joy was in good hands, but King recalls first noticing something was wrong in early June during an unsupervised visit.

“She was in so much pain,” King said. “She didn’t have bruises. I checked her body, but she was in pain.”

King says her daughter’s case manager at the Brevard Family Partnership, the agency in custody of Joy, told her the girl had simply fallen.

King says she reached out to the case manager a second time when she noticed burn marks on the girl’s arms, but claims the case worker, again, did nothing before it was too late.

“I can’t hear my baby’s voice anymore,” King said.

Joy’s grandmother, Latonya Hicks, says their next steps are to fight for justice.

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“They failed her,” Hicks said. “I miss Joy so much...she’s all I think about.”

WFTV has requested records and a statement from Brevard Family Partnership regarding Joy’s case, but they have not responded.

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