Family of murdered 4-year-old says CPS failed to do thorough investigation

Posted at 11:43 PM, May 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-08 06:25:35-04

Newport News, Va. - Family members say four-year-old Madyson Van Cleave was a victim of horrible abuse.

Police say Madyson died last week at the hands of 23-year-old Carl Cottee Jr., her mother's boyfriend, who was babysitting that day.

Madyson died from blunt force trauma to her head, but that abuse is something Madyson's grandparents say is nothing new.

They say Madyson had come to them two weeks ago with complaints.

"Our granddaughter had mentioned that she had been put in a drawer,” said Howard Lavelle. “It goes under her bed. It's like a captain’s bed and she described how dark it was and she screamed for her nanna and she was crying. I don't know how long she had been left in there."

Tuesday, they told NewsChannel 3 they've hired an attorney because they say child protective services never returned their calls and failed to do a thorough investigation.

Madyson's father, Shane Van Cleave says he found out about the abuse allegations after his daughter had died.

"If people would have taken a more serious approach to the allegations that were put on him before this happened, I really think that we would be able to enjoy her presence here today."

Van Cleave says he's not giving up.

"I’m definitely going to make it a priority in my life to make sure that justice is kept in all parties that are responsible for the death of my daughter."

Madyson's funeral is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m.

Related: Man charged with murder of 4-year-old in Newport News