Report: Dayton woman accused in baby’s death previously investigated for leaving kids alone

Wanisha Smith

A Dayton woman suspected of leaving her 1-year-old son to die in an apartment has had multiple run-ins with Dayton police, including a 2009 allegation that she left an eight-month-old and a 2-year-old home alone while she went on a date, records obtained by the Dayton Daily News show.

Wanisha Smith, 33, is charged in Dayton Municipal Court with involuntary manslaughter and child endangering in connection to the death of Darius Hall Jr. She pleaded not guilty.

A statement of facts filed in the baby death case says Smith admitted that on or about May 16, her son was injured when his head bumped a chair.

Dayton mother charged after child found dead in apartment

“She stated although she knew he was injured, she never attempted to provide medical care for him,” the affidavit says. “She stated she then left him alone … knowing doing so would cause him to die.”

Police said they responded to the 1800 block of North James H. McGee Boulevard on June 9 when neighbors alerted them of a smell coming from the apartment.

Dayton Police Lt. Jason Hall said that Dayton firefighters entered the apartment complex and found the remains of Darius “who had clearly been deceased for some time.”

Smith is currently jailed in Montgomery County and is being held on a $1 million bond. She is due back in court Friday.

Dayton police records show Smith had multiple run-ins with the law since 2007. The incidents include allegations she fired two rounds and threatened to shoot a boyfriend in 2007 and another 2007 incident where she was accused of attacking a woman.

In 2009, Dayton police opened an investigation when they were called to a home on the 2000 block of Cornell Ridge Drive just after midnight because an 8-month-old and a 2-year-old were allegedly left home.

In a narrative included in the police report, officers say they arrived on scene and knocked on the door. They noticed that the door was slightly open, according to the report, and went inside.

“(Officers) performed a protective sweep of the house. (A child), eight months old, was found in the living room sleeping in a car seat on the sofa,” the narrative says. “(Another child), 2 years old, was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom on a full-size bed. No adult was found inside the residence.”

Children Services was contacted at that time, the report says.

The narrative said a short time later Smith’s brother entered the residence and told officers that Smith had gone on a date with her boyfriend.

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“(He) stated Wanisha Smith told him the children were put to sleep and asked him if he would watch them while she was out,” the narrative says. “(He) lives across from Wanisha Smith and said he would come over and check on the children but he has his own children to watch.”

Other people who knew Smith then came to the home, including her mother. A plan was created with the Montgomery County Children Service caseworker with the mother, and the children were released to her, the report says.

Officers also noted the condition of the house in their report.

“We also had moldy food in the kitchen, cockroaches were crawling all over the house, and the upstairs bedroom floors were covered with clothing and other miscellaneous items,” the report says. “There was no crib or proper place for (the eight-month-old) to sleep in.”

The officers said they were unable to find clean clothes and other baby products for the mother to take with her to look after the children.

According to an investigation note, there was no like or similar incident that could be used to enhance the incident to a felony case and, instead, the case was forwarded to the juvenile court. A request for documents wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday.

The investigator said Smith talked with the police about the living conditions of the home.

“Wanisha told me that she had no excuse except that she was a single mother and that she was going through a lot right now. She stated that she did clean up her house and was able to get a baby crib for the eight-month-old. She also went on to tell me that she did leave her children with her brother, so she had no knowledge that he had left them alone.”

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