A 3-year-old was tortured to death by her mom's boyfriend just a day after Child Protection Services (CPS) failed to remove her from the abusive home.
Michigan police said Trinity Chandler died at the hands of her mom's boyfriend a day after CPS checked up on her.
According to reports, Samuel Lester Smart tortured Trinity inside their home in Groveland Township. Prosecutors confirmed Smart is Trinity's mom's boyfriend.
At the time of the ghastly incident, Trinity's mom was working an overnight shift at a nursing home.
The day before, social workers visited the home to check on the child. They apparently saw bruises on the little girl's body, including on her face, but did not remove her from the home.
Ashley Brown, a friend of Trinity's mom, told media outlets that she had reported the abuse to CPS and state police months earlier. She had also shared photos of Trinity's injuries with the officers.
"To me, it looked like healing from two black eyes. It was two."
"October is when I made a report with MSP. A couple of months prior, I saw her with marks under her eyes."
"It was obvious abuse. They could have taken her somewhere safe until the investigation was over."
Ashly also said documented abuse goes back to August and October. However, somehow Trinity remained with her mom, who would leave her with Smart.
"[Social services] did nothing. [They] didn't take her. We hoped she would be, but we knew she wasn't."
During a virtual arraignment, 29-year-old Smart showed no emotion or regrets and gave only short answers to the interrogation.
Even more alarming, detectives found video evidence that showed Smart abusing the little girl.
Police charged him with first-degree child abuse and torture, which carries a maximum life sentence.
He could also face more charges once an autopsy confirms Trinity's official cause of death.
Det. Sgt. Walden with MSP said:
"There have been multiple CPS investigations and reports between Smart and 3-year-old Trinity Chandler."
"There is an active and open child abuse investigation by troopers at the Metro-North Post. And CPS actually showed up to do a welfare check with Trinity [before her death]."
"They observed injuries but didn't feel they had enough to remove her from that place at that time. Smart is the prime suspect in her death."
Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, also released a statement saying:
"This is a terrible tragedy, and MDHHS offers its condolences to the family and friends of this child."
"Our Children's Services Agency is committed to its job of protecting children and families."
"By law, MDHHS cannot comment as this is an ongoing investigation involving law enforcement."
Smart remains behind bars at the Oakland County Jail without bond.