“Grandma, call the police!”
Julissia Batties was crying hysterically and begging her grandmother not to send her for a court-ordered weekend visit with her mom, Navasia Jones.
The Bronx girl, who was killed at age 7 under mysterious circumstances in Jones’ apartment last August, sobs in a heart-breaking audio recording obtained by The Post.
“I don’t want to go with mommy,” Julissia repeatedly told her grandma Yolanda Davis, who was also her foster parent.
Asked in another recording what the police could do, the doomed girl said simply: “Help me out.”
Despite her pleas, Julissia was sent to visit her mother, who lost custody of the girl at birth, along with four sons, due to alleged negligence and physical abuse.
Against objections by her grandmother and court-appointed lawyer, the city Administration for Children’s Services last June 21 finally returned Julissia to live with her mother, without supervision, for the first time.
Less than two months later, on Aug. 10, Julissia was dead.
The mother claimed the little girl fell and hit her head on a desk.
Her eldest son, 17, told cops he punched his half-sister eight times in the face, though officials decided those blows did not kill her. Hours later, Julissia started throwing up and passed out. Her mom called 911. The brutally-injured girl was rushed to Lincoln Hospital but could not be saved.
The cause of death, the city Medical Examiner found, was “blunt force abdominal trauma.”
The ME ruled it a homicide, but nearly nine months later, the NYPD has made no arrest. “The investigation is ongoing,” a spokesperson said Friday.
Julius Batties, Julissia’s dad, is furious that no one has been held responsible, saying detectives tell him, “Just wait, we’re working on this.”
On April 26, when Julissia would have turned eight, the dad decorated a poster to celebrate her “first birthday in heaven.”
A TROUBLED HISTORY
Throughout her short life, Julissia was at the center of a bitter tug-of-war between her estranged parents, and a complex child-welfare case that ended in tragic misjudgment.
Julissia was born at Kings County Hospital into the care of ACS, the agency charged with protecting the city’s most vulnerable children, but with a history marred by a series of failures resulting in horrific deaths.
A court-ordered report cited “parental drug and alcohol abuse,” and found domestic violence between Julissia’s mom and the father of three of her sons from a prior relationship. Her children had cuts, bruises and welts on their bodies, a city-appointed social worker reported. The mom “blew smoke in the children’s face,” knowing that one son suffered from asthma, records show.
ACS placed Julissia in the care of her paternal grandmother, who would become her foster parent for the next three years – and never give up the fight to protect her.
In 2017, when Julissia was 3, ACS abruptly removed the toddler from Davis’ custody after it was reported that she let her son enter the home to visit his daughter – against court and ACS orders. Davis asked for a hearing by the state Office of Children and Family Services, which found the removal “incorrect” and called for a re-evaluation.
ACS returned Julissia to Davis in 2018, allowing supervised visits with her parents at an agency office. In psychological reports in 2019 and early 2020, therapists observed that Julissia was sad and withdrawn with her mother, but at ease with her dad.
“I don’t want to go to mom,” the girl said during a therapy session, a report says.
The alarming observations did not stop ACS from expanding the mother’s visitation with Julissia to weekends at her apartment in NYCHA’s Mitchel Houses.
“SCARED TO DEATH”
Julissia soon grew so anxious and distraught before the visits that Davis began recording her — and gave the tapes to police after she died.
In one case, Julissia wailed unconsolably. Davis asked her, “Why you crying, punky? You have to see Mommy.” Julissia cried, “Noooo!”
“Why? Why happened?” Davis asked.
“I don’t wanna go,” Julissia bawled, not giving a reason.
Another time, Davis asked Julissia why she seemed so nervous. “It’s three days,” Julissia said, referring to the time she would spend with her mother.
On one recording, Julissia confided that her three older brothers “keep fighting” and beat up a younger sibling.
“They make him bleed,” she said.
“What do they do?” Davis asked. “Something bad,” the girl replied.
When Julissia told her grandma to “call the police,” Davis was surprised.
“What am I calling the police for?” she asked. “Because I don’t want to go with mommy,” Julissia cried.
“I don’t want to go with mommy.”Julissia Batties
Davis reported then-5-year-old Julissia’s outbursts to SCO Family of Services, the ACS-contracted agency overseeing her foster care. “A child shouldn’t feel that way about her mom. Something ain’t right,” the grandma told a caseworker in a recorded phone call.
The caseworker insisted she had brought up complaints about Jones to supervisors — including that Jones called Julissia “bitch” to her face — but they were discounted: “They probably want to close the case.”
Davis protested, “The child is scared to death of her!”
A TRAGIC END
On April 24, 2020, Davis sent Julissa for a weekend visit — and never saw her again. ACS allowed the girl to stay with Jones due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Soon after, ACS placed Julissia with her mother on a “trial discharge.” The agency told Davis it was going well. But the girl’s court-appointed lawyer would not consent to the arrangement, saying in an email that Julissia “consistently” expressed a desire to live with her grandmother. She told the lawyer she liked visiting her mother only because she got to play with her baby brother, Jones’ sixth child.
Meanwhile, Davis’ dealings with ACS grew increasingly strained as the frustrated grandmother planned to go back to court to fight for visitation with Julissia.
Shortly before her death, neighbors at Mitchel Houses spotted Julissia wearing sunglasses, apparently to hide a black eye. When ACS showed up to investigate the injury, Jones allegedly told officials that a younger brother hit the girl with a toy gun by accident.
“In my spirit, I felt like something was wrong with the baby,” Davis told The Post, blaming ACS for ignoring the red flags.
“There are other parents going through the same thing. That agency needs to be investigated. They treated me like trash. They didn’t do their job.”
Julissia’s father is also bitter. “ACS definitely failed me and my daughter. It’s horrible. You’ve got so many people who have to explain themselves now.”
Batties is incredulous that no one has been arrested after nine months. “All I hear is that they’re working on it. It’s the same thing I’ve been hearing since the beginning,” he said.
As if to warn whoever harmed Julissia, someone scribbled on Jones’ now-padlocked apartment door, ”God will always (prevail). No (one) gets away with murder.”
Jones could not be reached for comment.
ACS officials said the agency “conducted a comprehensive review” of its foster-care practices in Julissia’s case, and required the contractor, SCO, to “immediately implement corrective actions.” It would not specify the actions.
The agency said it also reviewed other cases in which children were in the process of leaving foster care to return to parents or guardians, and boosted training of its investigators.
“The death of Julissia was a terrible tragedy,” a spokeswoman said. “We take every opportunity to continuously review our work and identify opportunities for strengthening our policies and practices.”
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