Breaking News
More () »

'She was so full of life': Mother seeks justice in death of her 1-year-old daughter

The Kent County Medical Examiner is ruling the death of a 23-month-old girl a homicide.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Kent County Medical Examiner ruled the death of a 23-month-old girl a homicide. The Grand Rapids Police Department is investigating.

Kai'Yanni Jones's life was cut short just over one month shy of her second birthday. Her mom, Amanda O'Brien, says the little girl was full of life.       

"She was the light in my house. She lit up the room," she says. "She'll scream she wants a cookie at the top of her lungs. She loved playing babies with her four-year-old sister. She loved dancing."

Amanda says Kai'Yanni was rushed to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital on Feb. 19 and taken into emergency surgery for blunt force trauma to her abdomen. 

Amanda was already in the hospital, giving birth to her fourth child after getting into a car accident several days before. Kai'Yanni was being taken care of by babysitters at the time.

"When they wheeled her past me, she did not look like my daughter. She had bruises all over her face," Amanda says. "She looked dead."

She says the couple watching her children had done so multiple times before, and she considered them to be like family.

"My mind is blown, like how they could do this and how did it even happened?" Amanda says.

Now, she wants justice for her daughter.

"We just want to see the people who did this to her be dealt with because no child, her age or any other age, deserves to go through what my baby went through," Amanda says. 

She says Kai'Yanni was declared brain dead on Feb. 22, three days after she was admitted into the hospital and two days after her baby sister was born.

"Over the next few days, I had to make some of the hardest decisions of my life. And I ended up deciding to donate her organs," Amanda says. "Her heart stopped beating in her body at 7:13 p.m. on Saturday, but she saved a 10-month-old baby's life. Also a 14-year-old teenage boy got her two kidneys. And her heart went to a 10-month-old."

With her infant in her arms just days later, Amanda is remembering the older sister that the newborn won't get to meet.

"[Kai'Yann] loved Coco melon. She was so full of life. She was the best," she says.

Funeral services for Kai'Yanni will be at Brown's Funeral Home in Grand Rapids this Sunday, March 5 at 11 a.m. A GoFundMe has been created to help the family with funeral costs.

The Grand Rapids Police Department has not announced any arrests or suspects in this case.

Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.

Have a news tip? Email news@13onyourside.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Before You Leave, Check This Out