Today would be Amari Boone’s 4th birthday.
Instead of celebrating it with him by throwing him a PJ Masks-themed party with cake and presents, Amari’s mommy, daddy, two little brothers, and the rest of his adoring family can only visit his grave to celebrate. They can only post photos and memories online instead of giving their big boy the hugs and kisses he deserves.
As you may remember, Amari died on Easter Sunday after being taken to the Cook Children’s Medical Center emergency room in Fort Worth, Texas on Good Friday. Amari’s death was ruled a homicide caused by blunt force trauma to the head, but he had also suffered from multiple broken fingers, several fractured ribs, numerous bruises all over his body, a fractured pelvis, and severe bleeding in the left side of his brain.
When I covered Amari’s story a month ago, I lamented then that no arrests had yet been made, although I gave investigators the benefit of the doubt and suggested we should be patient and let them do their jobs. Guess what? Still no arrests have been made, and we are done with being patient. The time for justice is NOW.
At the time of his fatal injuries, Amari was in the care of his foster parents, 36-year-old Deondrick Raymon Foley and 29-year-old Joseph Michael Delancy Jr., who lived in Fort Worth. They told doctors that Amari was injured in a fall, but doctors felt their explanation was inconsistent with Amari’s injuries, so they contacted police. Deon and Joseph were interviewed by police that evening and released. Amari’s 19-month-old brother was removed from the Foley-Delancy home the same evening.
Two search warrants were performed on their apartment.
Both men subsequently left their jobs and broke the lease on their apartment. Their whereabouts at this time are unknown. Neither Deon nor Joseph has been named a suspect in Amari’s murder.
Amari’s parents, Ariana George and Rodney Boone, had seen and even photographed evidence of abuse against their three-year-old son in the weeks leading up to his death. They had expressed their concerns to Child Protective Services, but caseworkers did not take them seriously. The children were only in state custody at the time of Amari’s death because for a time, Ariana and Rodney were without a home and a vehicle. They were still involved in regular visitation with their sons until the COVID-19 quarantine began in mid-March.
A woman who claimed she used to work for Deon Foley made a Facebook post in the Justice for Amari Boone group on June 7, saying, “Foley was my boss he talked about those babies everyday, he even came to work all the time beat up and black eyes and busted lips. Deon was definitely being abused as well, it’s sad that he chose that life he could have at least spoke up for this innocent child…” She later added, “…He would be so beat up that he looked like a completely different person it’s like by the time his swelling was healing and his black eyes were going away he would come with new wounds ALL THE TIME…” Sadly but unsurprisingly, it is common that domestic abusers release their wrath on both romantic partners and children in the home.
Since April, a non-profit group called Missing Hearts, which runs the Justice for Amari Boone Facebook group, and the Brotherhood Movement in Fort Worth (represented by El Hajj Austin) have been working together to push for justice for Amari.
El Hajj Austin spoke briefly at a Fort Worth City Council meeting on Thursday, June 4, demanding answers. Mr. Austin was well prepared with a copy of the Change.org petition in support of justice for Amari, which at the time had over 200,000 signatures, but for whatever reason, he was not permitted to bring the petition into the meeting. In the video below, he begins speaking at 00:43:25.
The Change.org petition is still open to sign. As of this writing, over 241,000 people have signed in support of justice for Amari! To sign and share, click here.
The same day, family, friends, and supporters of Amari amassed outside the courthouse, peacefully protesting the lack of forward motion in the case.
Amari’s mother, Ariana George, made a powerful speech at the rally.
The Missing Hearts team has attempted to contact multiple local news stations, including KWTX News 10, Fox 4 News, CBS DFW, and KTXS Television, asking them to cover Amari’s story, but they have been ignored or refused.
Although it has seemed like justice for Amari was being thwarted at every turn, I have excellent news to share. Today, administrator Jessie Cooper posted the following to the Justice for Amari Boone group:
This is the first time authorities have reached out to the Missing Hearts/Justice for Amari team with a message of cooperation, so this is incredibly encouraging, especially with the official mention of a capital murder charge thrown in. There will be justice for Amari!
I am very excited to have been invited to work with the Missing Hearts team, a group of devoted, dedicated, multi-talented people who care about children as much as I do. If you follow any of their groups, such as the Justice for Frankie Gonzales group, you’ll probably see me pop up as a moderator from time to time.
My heart is with Amari’s mommy, daddy, little brothers, and all of his extended family members and friends on this very difficult day. I hope they get the justice and the closure they need.
Sources: Justice for Amari Boone Facebook group