Mother of toddler killed by alleged abuse speaks out

(Photo: Chiquita Graham)

HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — A mother is speaking out after the sudden death of her two-year-old son.

Cali’Deen Jones died at John Randolph Medical Center over the weekend.

His father, Aaron Watford and his girlfriend, Telicia Russell are charged in his death.

Cali’s mother Chiquita Graham remembers receiving the devastating news from her mother.

“I screamed, I dropped my phone,” she said. “I fell to the ground.”

Graham currently lives in Wisconsin. She returned home to Hampton upon her child’s death.

Related: Hopewell Police investigating after 2-year-old dies at hospital

She had been battling the child’s father to obtain legal custody of Cali and his twin sister.

She failed to get custody of the children after missing a court appearance by eight days.

Graham questions how the Commonwealth of Virginia could let Watford, a convicted felon, have legal custody.

“[The state] didn’t check his record, [they] didn’t do anything,” she said.

Police charged Watford and Russell with four felony counts of child endangerment.

Graham claims Virginia Beach Child Protective Services is investigating Watford for alleged child abuse.

“I don’t know what they did to [Cali] when they were living in Virginia Beach,” Graham said.

Graham said the family is making preparations to have Cali’s body brought back to Hampton from Hopewell.

She said Hopewell’s medical examiner’s office told her the toddler died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

That information has yet to be confirmed publicly by investigators.

Cali’s twin sister is still in custody of Hopewell Child Protective Services.