Advocates Advise of Abuse Warning Signs

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(Memphis) A Memphis man is due in court next month after charges were upgraded from aggravated child abuse to first-degree murder in the beating death of a 3-year-old girl.

Tony McKinney is behind bars on a $250,000 bond.

“These have been the hardest weeks of my life. I never imagined losing my baby that was just so sweet,” said Cassie West, whose 3-year-old Ciriyah passed away Friday after two weeks in the hospital.

Police reported West’s boyfriend (McKinney) beat the child, and then took the girl to her mother’s work place where her mother demanded they get help.

“I never thought I would lose my baby so soon,” said West.

Nancy Williams from the Memphis Child Advocacy center said Monday parents need to observe anyone before leaving their child with that person.

“One of the things is the person may have a very low tolerance for frustration which comes with crying kids,” said Williams. She said it is very important to check on kids 4 and younger because they cannot always communicate if something is wrong.

“So understanding your child doesn’t want to be with an adult and really acknowledging that with your child and of course if you see bruises or unexplained in juries,” added Williams.

Williams offered Call for Kids for any adult that needs to talk with someone while caring for a child. They can be reached at 901-274-7477. Or you can call 877-237-0004 to report any suspected abuse.

Meantime, Ciriyah’s family needs help with her funeral expenses. Anyone can donate at the Joe Ford Funeral home.