POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) – Chris Nevarez doted on his little girl, Makenzie, and he struggles every day with how short and painful his daughter’s life was.
“It’s a troubling part that I still have to overcome,” he said. “She was my little angel. She was everything I could ever dream for.”
Nevarez says Makenzie’s mother, Keisha Walsh, left with the couple’s two children last September. And despite his efforts, he could not reach them.
“They were kind of taken from me against my will and in places I didn’t know about,” he said.
Then last October he got a call that Makenzie was in the hospital, suffering from a skull fracture.
“I was able to hold her in my arms before she passed on life support,” Nevarez said. “That’s the last time I was able to see my 6-month-old.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested Juan Santos, Walsh’s roommate for Makenzie’s murder. Detectives said Santos hit Makenzie’s head into a wooden bed post. He is being held in jail without bond on a murder charge.
Investigators said Makenzie and her mother, her brother and Santos lived in a Pompano Beach apartment.
BSO’s Child Protective team was called to the apartment earlier in October – 11 days before Makenzie died because the child suffered a broken arm and leg. Those weren’t the only injuries child welfare workers saw.
They wrote in an incident report “(Makenzie) was awake and alert. (She) did have swelling and discoloration to her left eye, this appeared to be an injury that was sustained recently.”
As for the broken bones, “hospital staff believes that the fractures to the arm and leg occurred approximately three weeks ago.”
“When asked about the injuries, Walsh stated that she has no idea how any were sustained. Walsh stated that Makenzie has not fallen in her presence in the last month.”
As for the home, “there was food inside the refrigerator, freezer, cabinets. I also observed containers of baby formula. The apartment appeared to be in order.”
And the investigator wrote, “I did not find Walsh’s appearance, actions, or demeanor during the visit to be suspicious and she appeared to be genuinely concerned for (Makenzie’s) wellbeing.”
Nevarez has questions though.
“I just had concerns that there were incidents prior that should have been accounted for and were not,” Nevarez said, “including a black eye injury that was unexplained, and is still unexplained to this day.”
He shared a photo of Makenzie from last August showing an injury to her left eye. He’s not sure if this is the black eye referred to in the October report or evidence or another injury to his child. Either way, he feels there was a clear pattern showing injuries to his daughter.
“Anybody that would think that a child could go through those kind of living situations and have all these unexplained injuries and to not question their surroundings, is ignorant,” he said.
Nevarez says during the investigation into his daughter’s broken arm and leg he was never notified or asked for his input from BSO. The agency tells CBS 4 News that after that initial visit they did open an active investigation and were following up with the family.
Makenzie would die 15 days later.
BSO says they’ve determined that the little girl’s mother, Keisha Walsh, played no role in her daughter’s death.