• The tragic stories behind the deaths of these children


    Jaquez Baker: Died at the age of 7 in Orange County in 2012

    Background: Jaquez was removed from his parents after an unexplained fracture and after his parents failed to seek appropriate medical attention. He was reunified in 2011.

    In August, 2012, he was taken to the hospital and was not breathing. Medical staff tried to revive the child for 40 minutes but were unsuccessful. He died in the hospital. The death was ruled a homicide, officials said.


    Kai Gadison: Died at the age of 3 in Orange County in 2004

    Background: Kai was removed from the hom by DCF investigators in 2002 after allegations of excessive corporal punisment.

    She was reunified with her family in 2003 and died in 2004 following "blunt force trauma to the head." Her mother was arrested and charged in connection with her death.


    James Miller: Died at the age of 2 in Marion County in 2004

    Background: James was removed at birth after allegations he and his mother tested positive for illegal substances in 2002. He was later ordered into the care of his father and reunified with his mother in May 2003.

    In 2004, James died in a drowing that was "deemed accidental." His father told investigators he was putting another child down when James "got out of the home and fell into the pool." No arrests were made in connection with his death.


    Jasmine Darden: Died at the age of 11-months in Orange County in 2006

    Background: Jasmine was originally removed from her parents in August 2005 after she was brought to the hospital with "blunt impact" to the face and other injuries indicating "the force of a bottle of pacifier." Physical abuse was suspected. Medical staff also expressed concern of "potential shaken baby" injuries.

    She was later placed in the custody of her grandmother through a "kinship agreement." She died three months later. Her death was ruled a homicide due to "severe head trauma," and her father was arrested in connection with her death.


    Anthony Graham: Died at the age of 4 in Polk County in 2006

    Background: Anthony was removed from his home in early 2004 for a number of concerns, including environmental hazards and substance misuse. His siblings were re-unified with their mother, and Anthony was re-unified with his father.

    His father was later arrested, and Anthony's grandmother was given custody. She later returned Anthony to his mother. He died due to an accidental drowning.


    Shanika Polite: Died at the age of 12 in Seminole County in 2007

    Background: Reports show Shanika was removed from her home in 1998 for inadequate supervision. Because the age of the case, it was unclear when re-unification took place, but it was years before her death.

    Officials attributed Shanika's death to medical neglect. She suffered from a known seizure disorder, was left in a bath unattended and was believed to have drowned.


    Ashante Lawson: Died at the age of 3 in Orange County in 2008

    Background: Ashante and siblings were removed from their home in October 2006 and returned in 2007 against DCF's recommendations. The court decided the children's needs were being met through their grandparents' care while their mother was allowed to be in the home.

    The manner of Ashante's death was undetermined but attributed to medical neglect. She was brought the the emergency room with several concerns of medical neglect, but it took the family four days to get her treatment. She died while at the hospital.


    Jamar Phillips: Died at the age of 22-months in Orange County in 2008

    Background: Jamar was removed from his family at birth and placed in medical foster care, according to records. He had two siblings who were not removed. He was reunified in May 2008 after his mother took part in medical training for care of the child. Records show there were discussions about placing the child in protective custody, but the case manager was encouraged to try and help the mother.

    Concerns about the mother's housing and Jamar's care were noted just days before his death. He drowned after being left unattended in a bathtub. Jamar's siblings were removed after his death. The next year, the mother had another child, who was also sheltered. The surviving children were placed with a relative, according to records.


    Aurelia Juarez: Died at the age of 15-months in Seminole County in 2008

    Background: Aurelia was removed from the home and placed in foster care upon her birth after her mother tested positive for cocaine. She had two older brothers, who were also removed.

    All three were returned to their father's care in 2008. Aurelia died about three months later. Autopsy details were not available. Her father attributed injuries on her body to falling down repreatedly.

    Her parents had a long history with Child Protective Services.


    Joel, Jazlyn, Jaxs and Pebbles Johnson: Died at the ages of 12, 13, 15 and 17 in Brevard County in 2012 

    Background: The four Johnson children were shot and killed in May 2012 by their mother, who then took her own life. The Johnson children had been in state care 12 years before the murders and suicide due to domestic violence concerns about their mother and father. The mother entered a shelter, but then returned with the children in their home. The case supervision ended in September 2001.

    Before the shootings, Johnson and her son had a dispute. He was arrested, and the mother said she was not in fear of her son. The investigation found no indications. Johnson later shot the children and herself.


    Taariq Cross: Died at the age of 7 in Orange County in 2012

    Background: Taariq was diagnosed with autism. He had four siblings, and the family had a lengthy history with child protection. Investigators had concerns about Taariq's "ability to wander." He was in state care from October to November 2007 and then placed with his father.

    In 2009, he was placed with his mother, but was removed for five days in May of that year and then returned to the mother. He died after being hit by a car in July 2012. His mother was reportedly chasing him. His death was declared an accident by the Medical Examiner's Office. The surviving siblings were sheltered.


    Edrick Henry: Died at the age of 6 in Orange County in 2013

    Background: Edrick was diagnosed with Down Synrdrome. He was removed from his family in 2008 for inadequate supervision and neglect. He was reunified in 2012.

    Edrick died in October 2013 after he ingested his mother's oxycodone pills. His manner of death was ruled accidental. No arrested were made and no charges were filed in the case.

    Next Up:

  • Headline Goes Here

    The tragic stories behind the deaths of these children