Two -year-old Zaiden Javonovich is the fourth child in Wichita, Kansas to die as a result of child abuse in the past two years after the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) failed to intervene.
Take a moment to absorb that.
That means DCF was alerted to the probability of child abuse and/or neglect in all four cases, and in all four cases — Zaiden’s, as well as those of Evan Brewer (age 3), Lucas Hernandez (age 5) and Tony Bunn (age 2) — the children died after being allowed to remain in the custody of their abusive parents.
In Zaiden’s case, DCF reported to KAKE News that “a finding of substantiated physical abuse/physical neglect was made on April 25, 2019.”
Well, no shit.
Let’s dig into little Zaiden’s story, shall we?
On April 11th, 2019, Wichita police officers were summoned to the mobile home where Patrick Robert Javonovich, 26, and Brandi Kai Marchant, 22, lived with two of their children. (Reportedly, Brandi does not have custody of her two older sons, and Patrick has an older daughter who occasionally visited the family on weekends. From my research, it seems Zaiden is the only child the couple shared; Patrick is apparently not the father of the four-month-old baby also living in the residence.) A neighbor called 911 to report loud arguing, which was not unusual at the Javonovich residence, considering police responded to calls about the family twenty-two times in the past year and a half. More on that later.
When officers arrived on the scene, they found Brandi and Patrick outside the home, taking a leisurely evening stroll after their violent outburst. According to Brandi, the argument started after Patrick “let her” sleep all day (as if she’s not a full-grown adult who can be held responsible for her own sleep habits); Patrick reported that Brandi was perturbed by a crying child, which seems to be supported by a text message Brandi sent Patrick the day before reading “I am losing it. I need to stay somewhere. Zaiden just won’t stop. I can’t even watch fucking TV.” Less than a minute later, she sent a second message: “He had 3 bags of oatmeal and 2 things of yogurt and his [sic] is still screaming.”
Yeah. Kids will do that.
According to police, while they talked with the couple separately outside, Brandi, clad in shorts, complained of being cold but declined to move the interview inside because the house was a mess. Fortunately, police learned there were children inside and opted to investigate. Patrick agreed to let the officers inside the home but asked the officers not to wake them. How considerate of him.
sardine can mobile home, one officer reported hearing a baby cooing and found the four-month-old under a pillow against the side of a crib loaded with pillows, stuffed animals, and other suffocation hazards. The baby could not control his head and was notably small for his age. Later, at the hospital, doctors noted the baby weighed a mere eight pounds, while the average four-month-old boy weighs approximately 15.4 pounds. In addition to being extremely malnourished, the baby sported a bruise on his left ear, a swollen left jaw, and two healing rib fractures doctors believed to be up to two weeks old, which they determined to be injuries that were “abusive in nature in addition to the neglect.” The baby, who was born with marijuana in his system but allowed by DCF to remain with his parents (!!), also had severe diaper rash and an infection in his genitals.
Meanwhile, a second officer located two-year-old Zaiden facedown in a playpen, where he appeared to have thrown up. He was tightly swaddled in a blanket, not moving, and cold to the touch. The officer unwrapped the blanket and found Zaiden in footie pajamas with a zipper in the front; the child’s arms were not in the sleeves but instead trapped inside the garment against his body. The sleeves were tied in a knot at Zaiden’s throat. When Zaiden’s pajamas were unzipped, he was found to be “black, blue and purple and green in color.” There aren’t enough expletives in the world to express how I feel just typing that.
The officer cleared Zaiden’s airway with wipes found nearby and valiantly tried performing CPR on the little guy until EMS arrived, but it was far too late. Zaiden was pronounced dead at 12:01 AM on April 12th. He was 25 months old.
Zaiden’s autopsy revealed abrasions on the inside and outside of his lips as well as abrasions to his nose and contusions to his head and trunk. The abrasions on his lips, according to a doctor, were consistent with someone forcing his face onto something by pushing on the back of his head. He was in the early stages of decomposition, which means he had been dead a minimum of several hours, and although at his age, Zaiden should have weighed about 28 pounds, he was found to weigh only 14.9 pounds at the time of his death.
Officers noted they were not able to find any food in the house. Exactly how barren do your cabinets have to be for police to find no food in your house?
And where were Zaiden’s magnificent parents while he was lying dead in his playpen for hours, you might wonder? According to Patrick, he fed Zaiden the morning of April 11th before heading off to work and did not see him after work that day, so he was unaware Zaiden was dead. As for Brandi, she claimed she and Zaiden had been “feeling poorly for several days,” and that she restrained him inside his own pajamas to prevent him from pulling himself out of his crib and crying at his door. She needed her beauty rest, guys. Clearly.
Brandi reported feeding Zaiden oatmeal, yogurt, and chocolate milk before putting him to bed on Wednesday. She went to bed around 6:00 AM on Thursday and slept the entire day, which makes sense because she is obviously Nosferatu if her photos are any indication. “She had not seen either child throughout the entire day and was unaware that Zaiden had died,” reads a police affidavit. Hold on; let me finish filling out my nomination of Brandi for mother of the year before I continue.
According to the Wichita Eagle, Brandi and Patrick each face five charges, including first-degree murder with underlying felonies of neglect and abuse, two counts of abuse of a child, and aggravated endangerment of a child. They are being held at Sedgwick County jail.
Zaiden’s 4-month-old brother is reportedly doing much better and has been placed into state custody.
Now. Let’s talk about those 911 calls. Specifically, twenty-two calls regarding incidents involving Brandi and Patrick were made from November 2017 through April 2019. The calls came from concerned bystanders, Brandi and Patrick themselves, and Patrick’s mother, Donna Lloyd.
The neighbor who made the 911 call leading to the discovery of Zaiden’s death told the dispatcher, “I was standing out on my porch. I heard very violent yelling and then I heard people striking each other and yelling and screaming and I still hear a woman screaming. Whatever is going on in that house is not good right now.”
The neighbor, named by KAKE News as Shannon Higgins, told a reporter, “I turned to head back to the house when I heard a woman wailing in a way that made my stomach sink. So then I called 911.” He said he saw Patrick push Brandi inside the mobile home and shut the door; police arrived shortly thereafter.
Higgins saw Zaiden’s grandfather arrive at the mobile home on Friday morning, apparently hoping the reports about Zaiden’s death were untrue. “I realized this was obviously a loved one or something that is begging this isn’t true… hoping they would answer the door,” Higgins said. “I started having tears in my eyes because I knew I just walked into someone’s nightmare.”
Also included in the procession of 911 calls were several reports that Brandi was threatening to commit suicide, including one call made by Patrick while Brandi was pregnant. “My fiance just put a knife to her throat and is trying to kill herself,” he reported.
During one call in March 2018, Zaiden’s grandmother, Donna Lloyd, reported, “She [Brandi] slapped my 11-month-old grandbaby. You guys came out and didn’t do a damn thing about it. That baby was over here for two days with her fingerprints on his face when he’s 11 months old. She needs some kind of psychotic help. There’s something wrong with her and this is not healthy for my grandbaby. He’s just a one-year-old.”
During a call made on February 3, 2019, an argument was overheard during which Patrick cursed at Brandi and accused her of cheating. The sound of a scuffle ensued, following which Brandi cried out for help; 30 seconds later, Patrick told her to “get up off the floor.” When a Sheriff’s officer responded to the call, Brandi and Patrick told him they had been fighting about money. Brandi said she had bipolar disorder and had been off her medication for several days due to her state-issued health insurance lapsing. There is no mention in the report of the officer checking on the children.
If there is one bright spot in this story (and damn, but it was hard to find anything remotely positive here), it’s the spotlight this tragedy puts on the Kansas Department for Children and Families. Last year, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly focused her election campaign partly on fixing issues with DCF, which she called on lawmakers to help revamp during her State-of-the-State address in January of this year. Her budget for DCF would include $9 million in new funding, which would go toward hiring more than 50 sorely needed child welfare workers. Let’s just hope Zaiden didn’t die entirely in vain and that his tragic death will push Kansas state lawmakers to take action to prevent any more innocent children from dying at the hands of their abusive or neglectful parents.
Click here for more of my coverage on Zaiden’s case.