MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The attorney for the mother of a three-year-old boy, who police say was tortured before he was found dead in January, has entered a plea of not guilty to charges of aggravated child abuse.
Fafane Caze, 21, is accused of torturing her son Ghanson Debrosse. Police said she confessed to torturing him after he was found dead on January 21.
When police arrived early that morning, they believe the boy had been dead for three hours.
Autopsy results were performed by the Medical Examiner’s Office, according to North Miami Police, and concluded that the boy died as a result of multiple injuries and trauma.
Last month, CBS4 News went inside the apartment Caze shared with her children.
It’s there, a modest, one-bedroom, 2nd floor unit, police said the child, Caze’s son, was tortured.
Police evidence marks dot the walls in the room filled with two sheet-clad beds and children’s clothes on the floor.
During a family services hearing in January, Miami-Dade Judge Michael Hanzman ordered that Caze’s two other children, a one-year-old son and a daughter, who was just days away from her 5th birthday who also showed signs of abuse, be put in foster care, together. He said they need state services.
Judge Hanzman also asked the state to determine who the father of the children are. He set another hearing for termination of parental rights on Feb. 21st.
The two children have different fathers. Neither father showed up and there were no family members in court for the children.
During a separate hearing, Detective Alonzo Rhymer testified that after the child urinated on the floor, the mother used a lighter to burn him in his genital area. But that wasn’t all.
“There were burns on the face and the lips on the child. There were numerous burns and scarring and buckling of scars,” said Rhymer. “As far as those burn marks, when he peed on the floor, she would burn him as a lesson and grab him and use the lighter.”
When the boy defecated on himself, Caze reportedly beat him with an aluminum broom handle, which detectives found broken in two in the home, according to the detective.
Caze also reportedly admitted to hurling the boy across the room Tuesday; he hit a table, gasped for air, asked for water and was struggling to breathe. Then she called 911.
According to North Miami Police Major Neal Cuevas, they received a call around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday regarding a child who was not breathing at 12501 NE 13th Avenue.
Ghanson Debrosse was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital North where he was pronounced dead. Doctors believe the boy had been dead for at least three hours.
“The child had trauma over every inch of his body,” said Cuevas.
Detectives said the boy had been abused for some time and showed signs of sexual abuse.
“Just listening to the investigators and listening to the mother’s explanation almost brought me to tears, just to hear some of the things that this child has suffered,” said Cuevas. “From what we can tell, the child had some old and fresh injuries. So it appears that this abuse has been going on for some time.”
The brutality described paints a much different picture than the one portrayed on Caze’s facebook page, which has several photos of her children, one she captioned “My two preciouses”.
According to her arrest report, Caze, who worked as a security guard, allegedly hit the boy with her work belt repeatedly all over his body to punish him for misbehaving.
“These beatings cause multiple scars and open wounds on the victim’s body,” according to the arrest report.
Instead of getting the boy professional medical care for his injuries, police said Caze concocted her own remedy of vegetable oil and laundry detergent.
Police say Caze reportedly confessed after 12 hours of questioning at the North Miami Police Department. During her confession, investigators said Caze showed no remorse and seemed more concerned about her arrest and not being able to see her other two children.
Caze’s neighbors said they were deeply upset when they heard about what had happened.
One woman, who did not want her name in this report, told CBS4 that while she did not know the mother of the child that “It’s terrible. I have kids of my own. I love kids. I’m a mom. This is terrible.”
CBS4 also obtained a report from DCF that showed the mother had a history with the agency. DCF said Caze had been arrested in November of 2010 for domestic battery against Ghanson Debrosse’s father. Caze reportedly threatened to throw the child at the father.
The DCF report also said the father bit the mother’s finger and tried to choke her and threatened to take his son back to Haiti with him.
The family received intensive in-home services but a child protective investigator “did not observe any signs indicative of abuse,” according to the report.
DCF interim secretary Esther Jacobo released a statement that reads in part:
“My heart is breaking for this child. As we continue to investigate and work with law enforcement, it is evident that Ghanson had a very tragic and tortured life which ended far too soon. Although we had contact with Ghanson and his family when he was an infant, we received no reports since that time and no one could have predicted this heartbreaking tragedy.”