There’s very little I love more than being able to report good news!
Yesterday, I heard from Julius “Juice” Casura, the biological father of a baby named Tai, who was four months old when police discovered him on April 12, 2019 under a pillow in a crib loaded with pillows and stuffed animals.
In a nearby playpen in the same bedroom, police found Tai’s two-year-old half brother, Zaiden Javonovich, swaddled tightly in a blanket, wearing footie pajamas with a zipper in front and the arms knotted around his throat. Zaiden was unresponsive and cold to the touch, his skin already discolored, indicating he had been dead for at least several hours, if not days.
An autopsy later determined that the precious little boy had died from dehydration and malnutrition, and his death was ruled a homicide. He also had methamphetamine in his system and injuries to his face suggesting he was abused.
Zaiden’s father, Patrick Javonovich, and the mother of both boys, Brandi Marchant, were arrested. Both have been charged with first-degree murder, child abuse, and aggravated child endangerment.
Patrick, who was 28 at the time, was attacked in jail on June 9 of last year by a 26-year-old inmate named Lawrence Brown, who has been charged with aggravated battery in the attack. Patrick’s beating was severe, and he required brain surgery to attempt to repair the damage.
In November of last year, Judge David Kaufman granted a request by defense attorney Tricia Oldridge for Patrick to undergo a mental evaluation. Patrick was deemed incompetent to stand trial as a result of his injuries, and Judge Kaufman ordered him sent to Larned State Hospital, which is the largest psychiatric facility in the state of Kansas. Prosecutors Alice Knetsch Osburn and Jason P. Roach did not object to the ruling.
When and if Patrick is deemed competent to stand trial, a date will be set for his next court appearance. I know a lot of people express wishes for defendants in cases like this to be met with “prison justice,” but I present this example to you that such instances do nothing but prolong justice for kids like Zaiden.
23-year-old Brandi is still being held at Sedgwick County Jail, where she has been detained with no bond since April 12, 2019.
As for 4-month-old Tai, he was, fortunately, alive, although his dad, Juice, told me in January that if police had discovered him even a day later, he likely would not have survived. When Tai was examined at the hospital, he weighed a mere eight points, which is more like a newborn’s weight than that of a four-month-old boy, who should weigh around 15-16 pounds. Tai was severely malnourished, so much so that he couldn’t support his head, and suffered from a bruised left ear, swollen left jaw, and two healing rib fractures that were determined to be injuries “abusive in nature in addition to the neglect.” He also had a severe diaper rash and a genital infection.
Tai had been born in November of 2018 with marijuana in his system, but for some unimaginable reason, Sedgwick County DCF allowed him to remain in the custody of his
biological mother egg donor, Brandi Marchant.
Luckily, Tai is one hell of a fighter, and on top of that, he has an incredibly strong, loving father in his corner. Tai was initially placed into state custody, but since the get-go, Juice, who only found out after Zaiden’s death that he was Tai’s father, has been working toward obtaining custody of him.
Juice, who is a father of six and was already raising three of his children on his own, reached out to me yesterday to give me the best news I’ve heard in a long time. In my last update on this story, Tai was officially reintegrated with Juice and his family in January, but there were still several hoops for Juice to jump through to finalize custody.
As of June 17, 2020, the last hurdle was cleared, and Juice finally has full custody of Tai! The little guy is now permanently where he belongs, and the judge and DCF have officially closed the case.
When I read that message, I literally cheered and applauded in my own kitchen. I literally couldn’t be happier for Tai and his family if I tried. For a little guy born into horrific conditions and neglected from day one, the progress he has made is absolutely awe-inspiring. Juice told me, “You [would] never in 1 million years guess he went through everything that he went through. His recovery has been amazing.”
Tai, who is now nineteen months old and, according to his daddy, “the happiest little man ever,” weighs about 34 pounds. He is walking and parroting words, and, judging by the pictures Juice shared with me, Tai still has the most beautiful smile!
Juice also shared a couple videos showing how well Tai is walking. Look at him go!
My sincerest thanks to Juice for the update. That’s the kind of news I’m more than happy to share!
Sources: Juice Casura, Sedgwick County court records, Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, Kansas.com