EUCLID, Ohio — Four-year-old Musiah Wadud of Euclid died in the custody of his aunt and her boyfriend a week ago Thursday. His short life ended with brutal injuries all over his body.
While his aunt and her boyfriend are behind bars facing homicide charges related to his death, we can get snapshots of what he went through.
In 27 pages of juvenile court records, outlining 16 court dates addressing Musiah's custody from May of 2019 to April 12, 2022, with another date scheduled before his death. He was removed from his mother's house on May 20, 2019 for reasons of neglect and put into temporary custody of Cuyahoga County Division of Child and Family Services.
Musiah's grandmother tried to gain custody in March of 2020, but was denied, and he was placed with his paternal aunt Dyneshia Anderson in April of 2021. She was given official legal custody that October, but Musiah's grandma was in the process of petitioning for visitation when he died, with a future court date scheduled for June 7 of this year.
So what happens now? The county confirms DCFS' Special Investigations Unit is looking into the case and cooperating with police, and prosecutors are also involved.
Foster placements within a family are usually considered ideal, according to both the county and researcher Dana Prince, because fewer factors in the child's life are disrupted. However, it appears the worst happened in this instance.
"It's really heartbreaking, it's gut wrenching, it's traumatic for everyone involved," Prince said. "I read the story my heart goes out to the grandmother and the family."
The county also confirmed Thursday that a social worker was doing monthly check-ins, but some were virtual because of COVID. Many questions still remain unanswered about what happened behind closed doors while Musiah was living with Dyneshia Anderson.
"We've seen an increase in family-based violence," Prince admitted, "and we've seen an increase in child abuse during this time."