An Ohio mother and grandmother escaped jail time following the death of an autistic toddler boy, reportedly spurring shocked reactions from the community.
On Monday at the Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Judge Ian English sentenced 2-year-old Braylen Noble’s mother, Dajnae Cox, to two years of probation. His grandmother, Bobbie Johnson, received one year of probation.
Johnson previously took an Alford plea on obstructing justice charges, while Cox took an Alford plea on obstructing justice and attempted child endangering.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, authorities surrounded the pool area at the Hunter’s Ridge Apartment Complex in Toledo back in September 2020, while a Toledo Police Department spokesperson confirmed a child’s deceased body had been recovered from inside the pool.
The child was identified as Braylen, a non-verbal autistic toddler who disappeared on September 4, 2020, while at an apartment he shared with his mother and grandmother.
According to the search warrant, Cox and Jones contacted 911 after they couldn’t find Braylen. Cox said she came in from her apartment balcony and Jones told her that Braylen went to his room and shut the door.
When Cox went to the boy’s room, he was gone, according to what she told police. Cox and Jones then searched the apartment complex, swimming pool, and a nearby pond without luck. Police then executed an “exhaustive search” for days, including several initial searches at the pool. During the final search, they found Brayden’s body in the pool.
“It’s common practice in police investigations, once an area is searched, if nothing found, to go back and revisit that search area and see if anything was missed,” Lt. Kellie Lenhardt told ABC 13 in 2020.
The judge’s decision to allow the defendants to escape without serving time behind bars prompted community members to express their concerns on social media, ABC 13 reports. One person posted on the outlet’s social media page that “the judge is tripping,” while another said that it was “sad that justice was not done for this child.”
Johnson’s attorney said this was the first time she had ever been in legal trouble, adding that she’s a “model citizen” who holds steady employment, CBS 11 reports.
Cox, meanwhile, is required to hold steady employment, work toward a GED and undergo mental health counseling.
“This was accidental and our society needs to know that you have two grieving women and a grieving family here because of an accident,” Johnson’s lawyer, Kurt Bruderly, said.
“So I know everyone wants justice for Braylen and where that is a fantastic idea, it’s really hard to get justice when it’s an accident.”
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode below.
[Feature Photo: Braylen Noble/Handout]