Mother Speaks Out About 2-Year-Old Son's Death - NBC 6 South Florida

Mother Speaks Out About 2-Year-Old Son's Death

According to documents released by the Department of Children and Families, Jayden suffered injuries consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome.



    Lourdes Vanessa Morales discussed the death of her 2-year-old son Jayden. The boy's father Angel Villegas was being held without bond and faces a charge of second-degree murder. (Published Monday, July 22, 2013)

    A Florida City woman claims if the Department of Children and Families would have paid attention, her 2-year-old son would be alive.

    Instead, Lourdes Vanessa Morales is on the street corner in south Miami-Dade asking for donations to bury Jayden.

    Morales recently lost custody of her four kids who were handed over to their father, Angel Villegas.

    Last week, according to police, Villegas became enraged with Jayden, who wasn't feeling well and continued to vomit. Police say Villegas threw Jayden on a bed, hitting his head against a wall causing brain damage consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome. Villegas is charged with second-degree murder and was being held without bond.

    Morales says Villegas has a mean streak in him and snaps easily, and there's a history.

    "I've been eight years with him. Have five domestic violence cases with him. Verbal abuse, mental abuse," she said.

    From a DCF intake report in November of 2011:- "In the past, dad has grabbed mom by the neck. Dad whacks mom on the face every now and then."

    In a report from March 2012 , Villegas told investigators: "..he denied hitting Lourdes. He admitted to having anger issues and wants to receive counseling".

    DCF had investigated the family numerous times over several years for neglect and abuse allegations.

    According to documents, there were times the house a mess and the kids dirty. This past June Jayden and his brothers were taken from Morales and given to Villegas who lived with his new girlfriend, Guadalupe Jaramillio. It was then that Morales warned DCF.

    "I already knew he was going to do something to hurt, but like not happening this soon," she said.

    Morales says DCF dropped the ball ignoring a domestic violence arrest from early this year. It's the same DCF who's own former investigator, Jean Lecroix, was arrested for having sex with a child. Lecroix worked the Morales case at least once.

    Morales can't explain why DCF wouldn't listen, and she's yet to talk to her other kids to explain where Jayden is.

    "When the time comes, I can only tell them that his brother went to heaven," she said.

    DCF released the following statement about this case:

    "We are deeply saddened and are mourning the death of Jayden. This is a complicated family situation and we are only beginning to examine what could have been done differently to change the tragic outcome of this case.  DCF, our kids and children’s home society are now doing an in-depth, honest and difficult assessment of what happened and what gaps there may be in our system that will need to be filled in order to prevent this kind of tragedy from occurring in the future. Working together with our partners we will quickly address any issues uncovered by this assessment and work to improve the system. For Jayden and all children who are counting on us, the tough work we are doing now to understand the circumstances that led to this tragedy will save more children’s lives in the future."