Grandma of homicide victim speaks out

The grandma of Malakai Garrett is speaking out following his death last week.

Posted: Dec. 3, 2017 7:14 PM
Updated: Dec. 3, 2017 11:07 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Chante Harter, the grandma of 2-year-old Malakai Garrett, spoke out this weekend about her grandson's death.
Malakai was found unresponsive in his bed Wednesday night in the 6900 block of Palmetta Court. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, and his death was ruled a homicide. 

His mother's boyfriend, Mitchell Vanryn, was arrested in connection to his death.

"This baby was failed by his mother and her boyfriend, and the state of Indiana," said Chante Harter.

Harter said she hadn't seen her grandson since June, until she got the call Wednesday night that he was in the hospital.

"I knew deep down in my heart that this man was abusing our baby. I knew it," she said.

Harter said she told Mitchell Vanryn back in June to keep his hands off Malakai, and even called CPS, but nothing was done.

Harter believes Vanryn was also abusing Malakai's mother.

"My baby was coming to our house with bruises, unbelievable bruising. Bruising on his little face, bruising around his neck. Bruises on his everywhere, just everywhere," she said.

Harter said Malakai's older sister told them how the baby was being treated, but she was no longer allowed to see the kids after she confronted them about the bruising.

"Cadence, the six year old daughter of hers, told us that daddy Mitch was being mean to Malakai and hitting on Malakai," she said.

Harter said now, she just wants justice for Malakai, and for other babies.

"This baby will get his justice. And we are making sure of it," she said.

Harter said it's not fair that the next time she sees Malakai will be at his funeral, but she still has the memories they shared.

"He was always so happy and so loving, and you know he was just full of giggles, full of life, always," she said.

WFFT tried to reach out to Malakai's mother, but she has not responded. This homicide is still an active investigation.

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