Child abuse victim dies in the hospital; mother charged

Marlai Smith, a victim of child abuse, died last week in Banner Desert Hospital Mesa, AZ due to bleeding in her brain. 

Her mother, Chaimara Washington and her ex-boyfriend Brandon Cooper  allegedly abused Marlai and her two other siblings. Both mother and ex-boyfriend were arrested and charged with child abuse. 

Court documents stated that “Washington punished Marlai by making her jump over a book moments before she hit her head on a door handle and fell against a wall.” Cooper also allegedly threw glass cups at Marlai and would hit her siblings as well. 

“She used to run in and say, ‘Hey Granny.’ I’ll never hear that again,” Lauwana Washington, Smith’s grandma. She told police that she saw her daughter and the kids only a few weeks before this happened. 

Her grandmother also said that “there was nothing wrong with these kids, there was nothing wrong with them. She was fine, every time I see Chaimara she was fine.” 

Mesa Police were told that Marlai and her siblings would be disciplined by either exercising for a long period of time or would have been hit by a belt.  Washington is heartbroken at the fact that her daughter didn’t talk to her about anything or ask for help. 

Police said that “Marlai was unconscious” and had “bruises on her body and cuts on her head,” which could have been caused by being hit with either a belt or a blunt object. 

No one had suspected anything wrong with Washington’s parenting tactics, and people were shocked at the news.  

“She was always a hardworking mother. She always provided for her children, always good jobs, never been in trouble. This is a shocker to us,” said, Marlai’s cousin, Ashley Rogers.