TAMPA (FOX 13) - A grieving Tampa mother whose 8-month-old baby died while in her boyfriend's care felt a little relief when police charged that boyfriend with murder.
Elizabeth Norwood said she left her infant Zaylah and her 2-year-old daughter with Jermaine McKinnley on March 7 so she could take her oldest child to school.
According to Tampa police, a short time later, McKinnley, 25, called 911 and said Zaylah was choking. She was rushed to the hospital where she died five days later.
"I feel guilty because I trusted somebody around my kids and now I can't get my daughter back. I feel guilty because I trusted him," Norwood said Monday.
Investigators told FOX 13, Zaylah's death was caused by "multiple points of blunt impact to her head."
"He still hasn't said that he actually did anything," Norwood said.
Norwood said after her baby's death, the state took her other two children away and placed them in foster care. She said she was told she has "bad judgment."
But Norwood told FOX 13 McKinnley lied about who he was and she didn't know she was dating someone with a series of felony arrests.
"I would have left instantly if I would have seen any type of [sign] he might have hurt one of my children," she said. "It's not fair... all he gets to do is go to jail. She’s gone."
Norwood is in the process of trying to convince the state that she can take care of her children.
McKinnley, meanwhile, was already in jail when he was charged with murder and child abuse. He'd already been facing robbery, weapons and drug charges after an arrest last month. On top of that, he'd been arrested eight times since 2010.