MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Latoya Patterson is accused of allowing her 12-year-old cousin, Tamiyah Audain, to waste away while in Patterson’s care before the little girl died in September 2013.READ MORE: Out Of Work? These Places Are Hiring
However, on investigative DVD’s and audio CD’s released by the Broward State Attorney’s Office from the criminal case against Patterson, you can hear Patterson describe her struggles in caring for Tamiyah.
Audain was autistic, could not speak and suffered from a debilitating illness. After her mother died, Tamiyah was placed in Patterson’s care. They lived in this Lauderhill apartment with Patterson’s other children. Crime scene pictures show the living conditions. Tamiyah was discovered dead on the floor in September 2013.
A 911 call from the day of Tamiyah’s passing reveals the anguish in Patterson’s voice.
“My little cousin’s in the bedroom and I don’t think she’s breathing,” Patterson told a 911 dispatcher.
In the hours after Patterson made the 911 call, she gave a recorded statement to a detective and indicated that caring for Tamiyah was challenging.
“I would never hurt that little girl,” she said. “She was more like a baby. You had to do everything for her.”
Investigators said that once in Patterson’s care, Tamiyah deteriorated, developing multiple pressure sores. They say Tamiyah lost a significant amount of weight, stopped attending school, rarely saw a doctor and was isolated by Patterson. Patterson is accused of felony murder.READ MORE: Miami Investing In Future, Makes Donation To iTech Summer Program
A Childnet employee who oversaw Tamiyah’s case — Jabeth Moye — is charged with child neglect. In an interview with a detective last January, Patterson admitted that Tamiyah had lost weight.
“If you were to see her from the beginning, she had already started losing weight from the beginning,” Patterson told a Lauderhill Police detective.
But Patterson said that Tamiyah had access to the food in the home and ate with the family. However, Patterson admitted that caring for Tamiyah — who rarely slept and roamed the halls at all hours and would even bite — was too much for her and her children.
“Did you feel like you were equipped to take care of Tamiyah?” the detective asked.
“No,” Patterson said.
“Did you ever relay that information to Jabeth?” the detective asked.
“Yes,” Patterson said.
Patterson said she rarely received assistance for Tamiyah and in the weeks before Tamiyah’s death Patterson reached out to child welfare workers to express her desperation.
Patterson’s attorney, Melissa Minsk Donoho, says Patterson never kept Tamiyah from school or doctor’s appointments and never denied her food.
Donoho says the system failed Tamiyah, not Latoya Patterson.
“There was no evidence of isolation of this child,” Minsk Donoho said. “There is no evidence whatsoever that there was a willful, knowing, wanton intent to cause harm to this child.”MORE NEWS: Florida Rip Currents Claim 2 Lives, Including Child, While Good Samaritan Remains Missing
Patterson is being held in jail without bond. She is asking to be released from jail and a judge is expected to rule on that in the coming weeks.