Two times, a Broward County child welfare investigator received reports that 3-year-old Khyese Coach was being beaten by his caregivers.
Both times, the investigator found no bruises or marks — only a common rash.
But doctors observed far more than skin irritation last Monday when the North Lauderdale boy was hospitalized after he stopped breathing. Hospital staff noted bruising over most of the youngster’s body, blood in his diaper and a possible anal tear. There was also trauma to both sides of his head, detectives said.
Corey Gordon, the boyfriend of Khyese’s mother, said the boy fell down a flight of stairs, and Gordon acknowledged slapping him.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Earlier this week, detectives with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office charged 28-year-old Gordon with first-degree murder in connection with Khyese’s subsequent death. The department said Gordon mortally injured the youngster when the child’s mother, Chantel Haye, left the boy with him so she could go to work. Haye told authorities that when she called Gordon Monday morning to check on Khyese, “Gordon was upset, stating the child had defecated on his sister’s white couch.”
The Department of Children & Families released detailed reports on the agency’s history with Khyese’s family Friday in response to record requests from reporters. Neither DCF nor the Broward Sheriff’s Office, which conducts abuse and neglect probes for DCF in Broward, would discuss the records Friday.
The first report arrived on Nov. 25, 2014. The report said: “Khyese is always crying and has marks on his body. The child was seen with bruises and scratches to his head, buttocks and extremities. The marks look like belt marks.” The report also suggested that Khyese’s mother was the victim of domestic violence, and was scared because of it.
The report to the state’s abuse hotline, sent via the Internet, was anonymous, the records released Friday said, and it did not leave contact information.
An investigator with BSO visited Haye the next day. He said he observed “no addictions for substance and/or alcohol,” and the mother did not appear to suffer from any disabilities.
Both Haye and her mother denied the allegations. “Mother advised no one hits the child and causes bruises or marks,” the report said.
“Allegations are a lie,” Khyese’s maternal grandmother is reported to have said. “No one hits the kids or [is] abusing the kids. There is no domestic violence in the home. No one is scared of anyone. Child does not get hit by a belt.”
Four days later, the investigator observed Khyese. Haye took off Khyese’s shirt, a report said, and the investigator did not see any marks on the toddler’s body that would suggest abuse. “[Khyese] feels safe and is cared for,” the report said.
Seeing no evidence of abuse — Khyese did have scabies — the investigator closed the case about a week after receiving it with “no findings of physical injury.”
But a far more detailed report was received by the hotline two months later, on Jan. 21. “The mother and her boyfriend physically abuse Khyese,” it said, “until he has bruises.” The report alleged that on that day Khyese “ran under the bed to hide.”
Gordon, the report alleged, “started shaking Khyese, pulling and ringing his ears.” It added: “The mother sat and watched the boyfriend beat Khyese. ... Khyese has bruises on his arms, legs and all over his body.”
But soon after filing the report, the tipster said she or he did not observe the alleged abuse first-hand, and “the person who provided the information lied.” A police officer who had observed the boy, once again, found no evidence of marks or bruises. A BSO investigator did not see any bruises, either.
When interviewed, Gordon said he was trying to be a good “male figure” to the boy, and “never hit the child or harmed” him.
At that time, the investigator made “no findings of physical abuse.”