Tamiyah Audain, a sickly and severely disabled preteen under the care of state child welfare authorities, endured life-ending neglect so severe that it constituted “torture,” police say.
Twelve-year-old Tamiyah was left in the care of a cousin when her mother died of the same devastating disease Tamiyah battled. The relative, Latoya Patterson, was arrested Tuesday on charges of felony murder. An indictment handed up in Broward Circuit Court says Tamiyah died as the result of aggravated child abuse. She faces life imprisonment.
“This child died of apparent deprivational abuse, or torture,” said a sworn statement written by Lauderhill Police Sgt. Atina Johnson. “The caregiver made active steps to isolate her from therapists, who would have intervened in her nutritional and general neglected state.”
Patterson, 33, was one of four women indicted in connection with Tamiyah’s death, which occurred last fall. Also charged was Jabeth Moye, a child welfare caseworker with Broward’s private foster care agency, ChildNet, which operates under contract with the Department of Children & Families. Moye, 34, who was fired by ChildNet last month, is charged with child neglect causing great bodily harm, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment.
Also indicted were two professional psychologists, Juliana Gerena, 42, and Helen Richardson, age not immediately available. The two face sentences of five years’ imprisonment on charges of failing to report suspected child abuse or neglect — charges that are filed very rarely across Florida and the United States.
Tamiyah suffered from a neurological condition called tuberous sclerosis, as well as both physical and cognitive disabilities. But a specialist from the University of Miami’s Leonard Miller School of Medicine, neurologist Michael Duchowny, told authorities that Tamiyah most likely was neglected to death. When Tamiyah succumbed on Sept. 25, 2013, she had been ravaged by several deep wounds, including at least one that exposed her bone. Such sores can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening systemic infection. Story from Carol Marbin Miller here.