And that's exactly where those who knew and loved the little girl who was born three weeks premature say she's now resting.
Nevaeh Richardson was 8 days old when she was rushed to Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital on Friday.
Bleeding from the nose and mouth and with trauma to her rectum, she died about 24 hours later.
With the 9-day-old's death now ruled a homicide, investigators are working around the clock to find her killer.
Nevaeh's father, Christopher Ryan Richardson, 21, of Lincoln Park, is a suspect, along with others who were in the family's house in the 1400 block of Cicotte at the time the infant was injured. Police say Nevaeh likely was sexually assaulted.
While the homicide case is being investigated, Richardson is behind bars, accused of beating up his live-in girlfriend. He was arrested for domestic violence, third offense, for allegedly attacking the baby's mother as the couple drove the child to the hospital.
Richardson was in 25th District Court on Monday, where Judge David Zelenak ordered him held on a $100,000 cash bond pending a preliminary examination of the evidence against him. That hearing is set for Tuesday.
If convicted of the felony, he faces up to two years in jail and a $2,500 fine.
"I'm not guilty," Richardson said in court, before later requesting a court-appointed attorney and a lie detector to prove his innocence.
Police Chief Thomas Karnes said the infant's mother awoke early Friday and found Nevaeh lying on her chest, covered in blood.
The young couple, who lived with Richardson's mother and stepfather, went to Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital at about 1:55 a.m. with the child and grandparents. A 911 call was not made.
During the short drive, Richardson is accused of slapping his girlfriend across her face, grabbing her by her hair and threatening her should the baby die.
After doctors assessed the infant's condition, they notified police and transported Nevaeh to Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. She died at about 2:25 a.m. Saturday.
Richardson's mother, Adie Green, called police after witnessing her son assaulting his girlfriend in the back seat of her car. She said her son has an alcohol and drug problem and was drunk on the early morning in question.
"I'm not supporting him," she said yesterday. "I'm more concerned about the baby. She came from heaven and now she's back there. I don't understand how anyone could do something like this to a child."
As the incident occurred so close to Thanksgiving, Karnes said, there could have been people coming and going from the family's house.
Everyone who was in that home is being questioned and no one has yet been ruled out as a suspect in the child's death, Karnes said.
Police initially seized the infant's bedding and some of her diapers from the house in hopes of obtaining evidence, Karnes said. Officers returned Monday night and removed a curling iron and a hair straightening iron.
While he hasn't officially been named as a suspect, the investigation is focused on Richardson because of his criminal past.
"I'm not foolish enough to ignore that," Karnes said.
Richardson has two prior convictions for domestic violence and is on probation for a controlled- substance conviction in Roscommon County, court records show.
He also has been arrested at least two other times on domestic violence charges, but those cases were dismissed when the alleged victim failed to show in court. The girlfriend in question is the same woman in at least one of those cases.
Police Detective Lt. John Martin said his department is learning new information about the case every day.
"All of this stuff kind of ties together," he said. "We're still putting a lot of pieces together."
Karnes %u2014 a father of three and president of the Michigan district's Exchange Club, whose primary mission is to prevent child abuse %u2014 said this case has been especially hard for him to handle.
"This is a terrible crime," he said. "It's the worst thing I have ever come in contact with and it's the worst thing I've ever heard of."
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909 PHONE: (517) 373-3400
PHONE: (517) 335-7858 - Constituent Services
Attroney General Mike Cox
Cadillac Place, 10th Floor
3030 W. Grand Blvd., Suite 10-200
Detroit, MI 48202
Facsimile (313) 456-0061
This news story was written by Jason Alley at The News Herald Paper.
By Jason Alley, The News-Herald
PUBLISHED: December 5, 2007
LINCOLN PARK %u2014 A 21-year-old father was charged Monday with sexually assaulting his 8-day-old daughter so severely that she died of her injuries the next day.
AdvertisementChristopher Ryan Richardson of Lincoln Park is being held on a $1 million cash bond after being arraigned before 25th District Judge David Bajorek on charges of felony murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and first-degree child abuse.
If convicted of the murder charge, Richardson faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. The maximum penalties for the other charges are life in prison and 15 years, respectively.
In announcing the charges, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Nevaeh Ann Richardson, who was born Nov. 15, died Nov. 24 as a result of "anal intrusion."
It is alleged that Richardson used his finger to sexually assault his daughter. When the child's mother discovered the infant bleeding from the mouth and neck, she and Richardson took Nevaeh from their home to Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.
Employees there noticed additional trauma to the infant's rectum and called police before transferring Nevaeh to Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. The baby died the next day.
An autopsy ruled her death a homicide. Worthy said the infant died from massive internal bleeding and sepsis, a blood disorder.
Before she died, the infant also suffered bruising to her arms and head, as well as injuries to her genital area, Worthy said.
"The facts of this case are very disturbing," the prosecutor said while standing alongside other law enforcement officers in announcing the charges.
"We've all been involved in law enforcement for a long time. We have seen many, many cases of child abuse, and this case disturbs us all, that you can't even live in this world for eight days without being severely abused."
In court Monday afternoon, Richardson adamantly declared his innocence, broke down in tears and called what happened to his daughter "psychotic, sick (expletive)."
"How did I get charged with this?" he asked. "Never in my life would I do some (expletive) like this."
Richardson said he wants his accusers to undergo a lie detector test, and asked that he be able to submit to a blood or lie detector test "to prove I didn't do this."
Lincoln Park detectives did arrange for Richardson to take a polygraph, but declined to discuss the results.
A handful of people were in the courtroom to support Richardson, but declined to identify themselves or to be interviewed.
At one point during the proceeding, Richardson looked out into the gallery and quickly addressed them.
"Please," he said. "I didn't do it, man. ... I don't understand any of this."
Richardson faces a separate charge of domestic violence-third offense for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend as they took the infant to the hospital Nov. 23.
He was in court on that charge yesterday, but agreed to postpone the hearing for a week so that a preliminary examination of the evidence against him can be held at the same time on both cases.
The domestic violence charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Besides the two other domestic violence convictions on his record, Richardson also has arrest warrants out for him for an assault and battery charge in Southgate and for a probation violation in Roscommon, where he was arrested recently on a drug charge.
His mother, Adie Green, has been outspoken against her son. She said he has been in boot camp and drug rehabilitation since dropping out of high school.
She said Richardson has a longstanding alcohol and drug problem, and that he was drunk on the day the alleged sexual assault occurred.
When Green learned the details of how her granddaughter died, she just shook her head.
"That's beyond sick," she said, sitting in front of the family's Christmas tree in view of wrapped presents that had been bought for Nevaeh before she was killed.
Contact Staff Writer Jason Alley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-734-246-0867.