Family struggles with toddler's death - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Family struggles with toddler's death

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – A Memphis man goes to court Monday to face charges that he beat his girlfriend's baby to death. Meanwhile, relatives of the dead child are pleading for help to raise money for a funeral.

Ciriyah West had just turned 3 years old. Her mother, Cassie West, said, "She meant the world to me."

West and other relatives say this death is unbelievably painful.

"I mean this right here is surreal it's like I'm dreaming and in a little while somebody is going to wake me up," said grandmother Betty Woodall.

Tony McKinney, the boyfriend of the 3-year old's mother, is charged with beating Ciriyah to death.

Relatives say that McKinney often babysat the child at the East Memphis apartment he shared with her mother and there were never any problems.

West said, "A lot of people are building their opinion of me, like, why would she leave him there with her child and it was because I trusted him."

West says she and McKinney had dated for two years. He is also the father of the unborn baby she is scheduled to deliver in January.

"I don't want any like any type of relationship ever again. I don't want to talk to him or see him or anything like that," West said.

Family members are struggling to raise money for the child's funeral. West says she lost her job recently because she spent so much time at the hospital.

A fund has been set up through the Joe Ford Funeral Home, which is working to help the family. Anyone who wants to donate to help with Ciriyah's funeral expenses can contact the Joe Ford Funeral Home at (901) 345-6075.

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