7-Year-Old Julissia Batties Dies of Injuries at Home Just Months After Being Allowed to Live With Mom Again
"I was trying to keep this from happening," said Julissia's grandmother Yolanda Davis, who said she had custody of the 7-year-old for most of the girl's life.
Heartbroken family members are demanding answers after 7-year-old Julissia Batties died at her New York City home shortly after being allowed to live with her mom for the first time since her mom lost custody of her when the little girl was just days old.
“I feel like I failed my baby,” her biological father Julius Batties, who did not live with the family, told WCBS. He recalled the last time he spoke to her, saying that “she said she loved me and that I was the best dad. She was crying out for help. Nobody did nothing for my baby. I just want justice for my baby.”
Julissia's paternal grandmother Yolanda Davis, who said she raised Julissia for most of her life, told WCBS, “I was trying, I was trying to keep this from happening.”
Julissia had been living with her 35-year-old mother Navasia Jones and her 1-year-old brother in the Mitchel Houses, an affordable housing complex in the Bronx, before her death, The New York Times reported. Julissia had been allowed to live with her mom just last year, after her mom lost custody of her just after she was born. One year before Julissia was born, Jones had lost custody of four older kids, the Times reported.
Last Tuesday around 8 a.m., the NYPD were summoned to the Mitchel Houses after a neighbor dialed 911, authorities told Inside Edition Digital. They found Julissia unconscious, and she was pronounced dead at the hospital, police said.
Her mom reportedly told NYPD that Julissia had fallen and hit her head earlier that morning, then began vomiting around the time police were called, according to the Times.
The Medical Examiner’s has still not determined a cause of death, police told Inside Edition Digital Monday.
Davis, Julissia’s paternal grandmother, said “there were abdominal injuries to Julissia. Old ones and new ones,” WPIX reported, and she also claimed she also had trauma to her face and arms.
Officials said her 17-year-old half-brother admitted to beating her because he thought she had taken some snacks from the kitchen, the Times reported. According to New York Post, he had allegedly punched Julissia in the face eight times the morning of her death, but those were not the injuries that killed her.
A neighbor told the Times and WCBS he recalled seeing Julissia with a black eye days before her death. “She told me her mother did that to her eye,” he told WCBS.
Julissia and her family also had a long and complicated legal history, according to published reports.
Days after she was born, Julissia was sent to live with her grandmother after court ruled that living with her mother could “present imminent risk,” the Times reported. Her father told WPIX the last time he saw her was when she was just 2 years old.
“Julissia never gave a problem. She was a perfect child. She had neat handwriting. She loved going to Target and Walmart. She was an usher at church and loved the bishop,” Davis told WPIX.
Davis would let Jones visit her and Julissia at her Brooklyn apartment, but when she allowed Julissia to stay with her mom for the weekend around March 2020, Julissia was never returned, WPIX reported.
“She said the reason why Julissia was on an extended visit with her mother was because of the pandemic,” Davis told WPIX.
That was the last time Davis saw her granddaughter, she said. She told the Times she was not allowed to visit Julissia and Jones. Davis said she petitioned for visitation rights. A hearing on the matter was scheduled for this fall, Davis said.
“I begged them not to let her go back to her mother, and now we’re here,” Davis told the Times.
There were at least nine domestic reports filed involving the family, the Times reported, citing police records.
No one has been charged in relation to Julissia’s death. Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident, the NYPD told Inside Edition Digital.
Her grandmother Davis has since started a GoFundMe page.
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