The tragic story of the 14-year-old Miami teen who hung herself in the bathroom of her foster care home becomes more heartbreaking with every new detail.
Naika Venant broadcast her self-inflicted hanging death on Facebook Live on January 22, after she seems to have lost the will go to on inside the foster care system. Venant killed herself in the bathroom of a foster home where she was temporarily living.
Earlier this week, the Florida Department of Children and Families released a report alleging that Naika’s mother, who goes by the name Gina Alexis, watched the suicide unfold online and posted messages on the Facebook Live broadcast that appear to be egging her daughter on as she hangs herself with a scarf.
Alexis’s lawyer has since reportedly denied that the girl’s mother posted those comments as the act was taking place, insisting it was after the fact and in response to inaccurate reports from friends and family that the suicide was a hoax.
According to ABC News, the report also documents a long history of neglect, abuse and trauma inflicted on the Naika, who had reportedly developed behavioral problems at an early age.
And on Wednesday, the FDCF released further information on the case, including messages between the girl and her 31-year-old mother. Some of the messages, published by The Miami Herald, reveal a troubled but loving girl who desperately wanted to rekindle her relationship with her mother, who appears to have repeatedly rebuffed her.
“ICan Do Better iKnow ICan Gimme Another Chance. I Don’t Wanna Be Here Tryna Stay Strong,” read one in a string of messages reportedly sent in September, five months after Naika’s mother turned her daughter’s care over to child services for the last time, reportedly telling a case manager that she had “had it” with caring for her daughter. Other messages reportedly sent in September read:
I wanna make this work betwn us…Tell me what I gotta Do & iLL Do iT Im Tired Of Us Fighting We Needa Make This Work Im Ready for Us to be a Team AGAIN
IWanna Be That Little Girl Yhu Once Had iM Ready to Grow up && Take Responsibility As a Teenager.
In an interview with the Miami Herald Wednesday, Alexis said Naika’s behavior had become increasingly troublesome and she worried about the negative impact it could have on her five-year-old son. She also said she felt that Naika had become more rebellious within the state system than she had been in her mother’s care.
“I just felt like they switched up the morals and values I put in place raising my daughter,” Alexis said. According to the FDCF records, Naika had told a therapist that as a young child, she would watch “sex movies” with her mother and sometimes sleep in the same bedroom as her mother’s boyfriend.
FDCF Secretary Mike Carroll released a statement to the media along with Wednesday’s report, expressing regret that the girl could not be saved despite the efforts of the agency.
“There is little we can say that adequately describes the sorrow we still feel today from the loss of Naika,” Carroll said in the statement. “It is even more exacerbated by the information that was learned during the course of the [agency’s] investigation — that this is a child who endured great trauma in her life and despite many service interventions, we were not able to put the pieces back together to prevent her from taking her own life in such a public forum.”