Tragic Death of 4-Year-Old in Foster Care Raises Questions About Child Safety

Tragic Death of 4-Year-Old in Foster Care Raises Questions About Child Safety

Tonight, many are grappling with the circumstances surrounding the death of 4-year-old, Ayana Unique Bennet.  At such a tender age, the toddler was in the foster care system as she was taken away from her biological mother.  While the removal of children is for their own safety, in this case it makes you question just how safe is safe.  Shortly before her death, Baby Iyana was beaten with a belt because she failed to identify the correct color of an object.  By Friday night, the little girl was dead, and today’s post mortem results have shown evidence of blunt force trauma on the child’s body.  The foster parents, Marvin and Lena Plett, have been in police custody since, and right now the charge is aggravated assault.  Commissioner of Police Chester Williams says that police are gathering more evidence in the case, and are looking to upgrade the charges.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: Both foster parents they are still in policy custody. They were charged based on the advice of the DPP over the weekend for aggravated assault and now that the post-mortem examination has been concluded the result of that has been forwarded to the DPP and we will now await further instructions from her as it relates to any possible further charges. I can say that both foster parents have admitted to having lashed the child with a belt according to them but I don’t know if a belt would cause that amount of force as the doctor had prescribed following the post-mortem examination. So like I said before we’re waiting now for the DPP’s further instruction in terms of additional charges that may follow on the foster parents. The law under justifiable use for force and harm I believe section thirty eight of the criminal code does speak to the fact that parents can chastise a child but it also goes on to say that the chastisement of the child must not be too excessive and in this case where that so called chastising is so severe that it caused the death of the child then certainly the parents can be held to account. It might not be a charge of murder but at the very least manslaughter.”

The entire ordeal has brought devastation all around.  For the biological mother, Alva Moody, it is a nightmare that she is forced to relive.  Five years ago, in July 2018, Moody slept next to her 3-year-old, Etana Bennett when a shooter came and riddled her home with bullets, hoping to catch the child’s father.  Instead, the toddler was killed, and Moody was shot.  Fast forward today, and Moody has another slain toddler to grieve for.  

Alva Moody, Mother: “When they came Friday and told me the news they told me the little girl they went to wake her up 4:30 in the morning, the foster parents went to wake her up in the morning 4:30 to check on her but why would someone check on a child at 4:30 so early in the morning. And then the director told me that there was no response. I mean the little girl was not moving so they called the ambulance and the ambulance went there and checked and said the little girl was unconscious and was not breathing and that she passed. And then Friday all day I waited and called and they said they would get back to me. I called them the evening and asked them what happened to the little girl, they looked like they were hiding stuff from me because I asked and I questioned and they didn’t answer me. So I called them and they came six o’clock and I still asked them what happened to the little girl they didn’t give me any answer they said they didn’t know yet we have to wait for the post-mortem. I was aware what happened to my daughter that they beat her to death because she didn’t know the color of the tractor. I find that out before the post-mortem had been done but I know but I was just waiting on the right evidence that the post mortem and I’m so glad that they didn’t cover up the evidence. I’m not happy with the charges that the police had made against the people about aggravated assault because the death certificate clearly shows that they beat that little girl to death. So I don’t know why they said aggravated assault because as you look on the death certificate you see that this is a murder charge.”

Looking back on past encounters, Moody told Love News that she was having suspicions that the little girl was being abused.  Her last visit with her was in October where scratches and bruises were visible.

Alva Moody, Mother: “I didn’t give up my daughter. I didn’t give up any of them. I was going through a program to get them back it’s not like I gave away my kids. So I don’t want the people out there talking as if I didn’t want my child. I was going through a program to get them back and I’m still in the program. I’m going through the program because of the system.”

Reporter: When’s the last time you had seen Iyana ?

Alva Moody, Mother: “The last time I saw Iyana was October 20 when I got a visit in Belmopan. They brought her from Spanish Lookout where they were I didn’t know they were with any Mennonites and they brought her to Belmopan where I visited her. And on the visit I noticed some scars were on her face and I asked her what happened but you know as a child she was so excited to see her mother so she was just playing.”

Reporter: Do you believe the story of these foster parents ? They said they hit Iyana with a belt.

Alva Moody, Mother “I don’t believe that’s a belt. If the little girl’s whole body is bruised up and her head I didn’t even know if she got fractured. All I want, I want the foster parents I want them to be charged for murder because they murdered my kid and I’m not happy at all. It’s hard. Yes it’s my second child five years after and my baby she was one day after her sister, one was the 21st of September and this one is the 22nd of September. I love my kid. I loved my daughter so bad. I love the two of them. They still have my next daughter in custody I want to know when I will get back my next daughter.”

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