Family members of a 10-year-old Dayton boy who authorities say was locked naked in an attic and abused for years said they are heartbroken over the boy’s death.
Kelly Sandoval, Takoda Collins’ maternal grandmother who lives in Wisconsin, says her family fought through court for years for access to the boy but were denied or ignored.
“What happened to Takoda shouldn’t happen to any kid. Takoda should have had a chance for life. He was smart, funny, outgoing, he would have helped you do anything. He just wanted to be loved,” Sandoval told the Dayton Daily News in an interview.
Steven Crabtree, Takoda’s uncle, also lives in Wisconsin and told the Dayton Daily News that Takoda was a happy child.
“He was a very sweet, loving little kid who always had a smile and would warm anyone’s heart,” Crabtree said. “He did go fishing when he was younger and was very active with other little kids.”
Takoda was rushed to Dayton’s Children’s Hospital Dec. 13 and was pronounced dead. His father, Al-Mutahan McLean, 30, faces charges in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in connection to what law enforcement described in court documents as “extreme” child abuse against Takoda.
He was indicted on four counts of endangering children, two counts of felonious assault and one count of rape of a person younger than 13.
Police say in court documents that “Takoda was kept in a dirty, locked, dark attic and abused daily over the course of several years. The interviews also revealed that Takoda was held underwater and gasping for breath prior to succumbing to his injuries.”
Takoda died with bruises and cuts all over his body.
Two women who lived with McLean in the home, Amanda Hinze and Jennifer Ebert, are charged in Dayton Municipal Court with four counts of endangering children.
All three are being held on $1 million bond.
Sandoval said her daughter lost custody of Takoda and was addicted to drugs.
Sandoval said she tried to get custody of the boy after he was taken from his mother and put in a foster home, but was denied custody because she was already raising other children in her family. She said she visited the boy often and took him on day trips regularly until he was placed with his father, who moved him to Ohio.
“He didn’t have a chance from the start,” Sandoval said. “It’s really sad.”
Sandoval said her daughter tried to keep in touch with the boy, but McLean refused to allow her much contact. Sandoval said she herself wasn’t allowed to see him or speak to him at all since 2013.
“Takoda was such a happy boy before his dad took him from here,” she said. “And then his dad refused to let us see him.”
“He was a normal kid. He was potty trained. He was smart,” Sandoval said. “The last time I saw him we were teaching him to ride a bike. And now this happens.”
Sandoval said Takoda did not have any developmental disability issues before his father took custody of him. In a Dec. 13 911 call by McLean, the father reported that his son had stopped breathing and said that Takoda would eat his own feces and lay in his own urine.
“As far as him eating his own poop and laying in his pee, if you’re starving to death you’d do anything,” she said. “And as far as him being mentally disabled, he was not mentally disabled until Al got his hands on him.”
Sandoval said Takoda will be cremated and sent back to Wisconsin.
“We love him, he is loved up here by everybody and greatly missed. Everybody is doing nothing but crying and wanting him with us,” the grandmother said.
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