ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A Jennings family was mourning the murder of a 5-year-old girl and prayed for the recovery of her 4-year-old sister, who was hospitalized after a beating. Police arrested a suspect in connection with the crime.
According to Sgt. Shawn McGuire, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department, officers were called to a local hospital around 11:05 a.m. for a suspicious death involving a child, identified as 5-year-old A’Yonna Milton. She'd suffered internal injuries and brain damage.
Milton's 4-year-old sister was also hospitalized for serious injuries.
“Just can’t see my babies gone, you know? It hurt me to my heart,” said Phyllis Hines, the girls’ grandmother.
Investigators determined the abuse took place at the sisters’ home in the 5500 block of Bramlage Court in Jennings.
Police arrested Adrian Mobley, the boyfriend of the victims’ mother, for the crime. Mobley was charged with first-degree murder, abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death, first-degree assault, and abuse or neglect of a child with serious physical injury. He was jailed a million-dollar bond.
“We had trust in someone who we thought was good and it turned out he was evil and this is killing me to know this man took my babies away from me,” Hines said.
The girls' mother collapsed in grief and tears Thursday morning outside the family home, where neighbors created a memorial for A’yonna.
A’yonna attended kindergarten at a Jennings’ elementary school. She’d been in school less than nine days.
“Her daughter is in the same class as my grandson and my grandson took it hard yesterday. He’s five, too," said Rena Nelson, a neighbor.
School counselors were said to be helping the kids and teachers cope with the tragedy.
"Our teachers are dealing with the realities of our society. We love our children. We're going to take care of them every step of the way," said School Superintendent Dr. Art McCoy said.