Police are investigating after a toddler died as a result of injuries she sustained from a sexual assault in a Richmond, Virginia, motel room.
According to WTVR CBS 6, Aija Brown, the mother of 17-month-old Nariah, said she left her only child in the motel room with someone that she trusted while she ran an errand. That person has been arrested for the May 8 incident but has not been charged.
Now the distraught mom said she is grappling to understand how this could have happened to her sweet baby girl.
“I was gonna’ always do anything to protect her,” Brown told WTVR. “She never did anything to anybody. She wasn’t a mean baby. She was loving. She would go up to strangers hug them and smile.”
“I was giving my baby CPR in the back seat,” Brown said. “Because I thought she wasn’t breathing.”
Nariah was born a fighter. She was a preemie at birth and fought for several months to live, her mom told the news outlet.
In describing Nariah, Brown was overcome with grief. She said she was radiant and loved to watch Disney Jr.
“She loved puppy dog pals and loved dogs,” said Brown. “She’d say ‘woof-woof.’ She was just really learning to talk.”
Now Brown said she is left picking up the pieces. She said her child’s killing has left her emotionally distraught and that she is leaning on her family for support.
WTVR sources said that although the man in custody has not yet been charged in Nariah’s death, those charges are expected soon.
Police have not released an official cause of Nariah’s death and no further details have been released.
The family and community gathered for a vigil for Nariah Tuesday night with teal and purple colored balloons and candles. More than 100 people, some strangers, gathered to support Nariah Brown’s family.
“I can’t imagine something so atrocious. It’s pure evil,” Crystal Taylor told CBS 6. “No matter how ugly or evil things get, love can fix it.
A GoFundMe has also been set up to alleviate funeral costs for the family.
Rest in peace, baby Nariah.