UPDATE: Family celebrates first birthday of baby killed in December
UPDATE: Family members gathered to release balloons in honor of De’Maryus', known as Baby Dee, first birthday.
Baby Dee was killed in December.
Channel 3 was invited to attend the memorial for Baby Dee.
The person responsible for Baby Dee's death has still not been found.
PREVIOUS STORY: A mother's nine-month-old baby boy was killed two months ago inside an apartment while under a babysitter's care.
For the first time since baby De’Maryus’ death, who is affectionately known as Baby Dee, his mother spoke sat down with Channel 3.
"Friday, December 14 was the last time she held her nine-month-old baby boy," Tamecia Payne said. “I dropped him off, and I hugged my baby, and I kissed him. I told him I loved him."
Payne’s two-year-old son was with him. She said her babysitter, Kiara, and another man were watching her boys at Stone Ridge Apartments on West 37th Street, as they have done several times before. Payne said she planned to go out with friends on Saturday.
“They came outside to the car to get them. I made sure they had everything like diapers, wipes, food, their snacks. I made sure they walked up the stairs before I even pulled off, and that was it,” Payne explained.
Payne said she checked in the next day and was told her boys were fine.
But early Sunday morning, she got a call from the babysitter through Facebook.
“She was like...you need to get here now. I said, 'okay, I'm on my way.' She said my son had his arm around his neck. Ain't no way my two-year-old did that. He loves his brother,” Payne said.
An autopsy report revealed Baby Dee suffered blunt force injuries to the head and suffocated.
We asked Payne what she thinks happened and she replied, “I can't tell you that. I don't know, but I want to know. I want answers. I couldn't believe they took my baby like I had just had him nine months ago.”
Payne admitted she was unable to talk to police at the crime scene and at the hospital where her son was taken.
“For everybody saying I wasn’t there, I was there. I was there the whole time, but no one knew,” she said. “I had warrants on me, that's why I didn't get out of the car, and I thought they were gonna take me to jail, and I was going to miss my baby's funeral, but now I got them over with so I can come face y’all. I can come forward now and that's what I need. I want justice for my baby. I break down every day; every day, all day I try to stay strong. It's like it's not working because nobody's locked up.”
Now two months later, Payne says life is hard without her baby boy.
But also for her oldest son.
“He loved my daddy so much like now he don't even like talking to my daddy or nothing, so I know it had to be a male that did something to my baby because now my two-year-old don't like dealing with my daddy no more,” Payne said. “He cries in his sleep now. He asks me every day where's Baby Dee at? Where's my brother? That hurts, and I just can't tell him like I still can't tell him when he asks. All I do is just cry.”
Chattanooga police ruled Baby Dee’s death a homicide. They still don't have the person responsible in custody. However, we have learned there were other people in the home besides the babysitter at the time of the incident.
If you have any information, call police. You can remain anonymous by using the Homicide Tip Line at (423) 643-5100.