Grandma of Takoda Collins: ‘No way in hell’ case should have fallen through cracks

Takoda Collins died earlier this month after what authorities say was "extreme" child abuse.
Takoda Collins died earlier this month after what authorities say was "extreme" child abuse.

The grandmother of a boy who was killed after authorities say he suffered extreme child abuse wants a change in the way the government protects children.

Kelly Sandoval, the grandmother of Takoda Collins, who died last month at the age of 10, said it’s clear to her that the system failed her grandson.

MORE: County reviews Children Services’ handling of 10-year-old who died after alleged abuse

“So that’s how it fell through the cracks, they just glanced at him,” Sandoval said. “‘Oh, he’s OK, no problem, let’s close the case out.’ Or, not even be able to get ahold of him. ‘Oh well, he’s not home. Close the case out.’”

“Knowing how many times those teachers had called. There’s no way in hell it should have fell through the cracks,” she said.

The Dayton Daily News was the first to report that teachers alerted authorities to possible abuse against Takoda for years leading up to his death. Letters obtained from state lawmakers sent by teachers further show that Montgomery County Children Services was alerted about issues surrounding Takoda’s safety.

Montgomery County officials announced this week they have launched an internal review of how Children Services handled multiple reports of abuse and neglect they received over the years prior to Takoda dying Dec. 13.

“At the direction of the county commissioners, I have launched an internal review into the involvement of Montgomery County Children Services with regard to Takoda Collins,” wrote County Administrator Michael Colbert in a public statement. “This review is separate from the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the Dayton Police Department, as well as any review process that is conducted by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.”

MORE: State lawmakers seek independent review of Dayton boy’s death

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl also said his department is conducting an administrative review to evaluate all previous contact with Takoda.

Sandoval is confident the reviews will find investigators did not follow up diligently enough when people reported their concerns about Takoda.

“Why waste the time on doing it?” she asked our news organization when reached for comment. “We already know how it happened.”

She said she blames herself as much as anyone else.

“I let him down. Everyone let him down.”