report by Florida’s child welfare agency says the 14-year-old foster child who hanged herself in a shower stall on Facebook live had been abused, beaten and rejected by her mother.
In a 20-page report released late on Monday, the Department of Children & Families concluded that Naika Venant’s relationship with her mother Gina Alexis played a significant role in her death. The Miami Herald reports that despite the abuse, Venant told her therapist she “missed her mother” and wanted to go home.
The agency detailed the abuse Venant suffered, including sleeping in the same room as her mother’s boyfriends, watching “sex movies” and being beaten with belts. She was in and out of foster homes.
Alexis’ attorney Howard Talenfeld disputed the findings, adding the girl was whisked between 14 foster homes, but was never given a bed in a therapeutic foster home.
Naika’s life ended in a shower stall, where she hanged herself with a scarf on Jan. 22 at her latest foster home. She had wanted her epilogue to be as public as possible. While hundreds looked on, Naika streamed her final act on Facebook Live.
Late Monday, the Florida Department of Children & Families released a 20-page examination of its efforts leading up to the 14-year-old’s death. The report concludes that, while state child welfare authorities could have done better, Naika’s fraught relationship with her mother played a significant role in the teen’s tragic death.